Euro 2016: England fans charged by Russia supporters as violence spills into stadium – UMUSEKE – News indeed
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Large numbers of Russia supporters, some wearing balaclavas, went on the rampage at the Stade Vélodrome, over a section of meshing and through a line of stewards on the virage sud, a stand nominally segregated between opposing fans, after the game had ended at 1-1. They grabbed flags as they stampeded, with projectiles thrown from both sides, forcing England fans to clamber over fencing and walls to escape. An England supporter in a wheelchair was seen being beaten up.

 352B018B00000578-3England fans were the ones to come under attack

352B018B00000578-3England fans were the ones to come under attack

Uefa, which has the power to act against member associations for disturbances that take place within a stadium, is awaiting information from its disciplinary department but European football’s ruling body is expected to open proceedings in the days ahead.

The England goalkeeper Joe Hart departed the pitch mouthing “stay safe, stay here” apparently towards his family up in the stands, while Jamie Vardy’s wife suggested she had been among a group of supporters who had been teargassed by police outside the stadium before the game.

The incidents continued the troubling scenes from Marseille’s Vieux Port in the three days leading up to this Euro 2016 fixture, with at least two England supporters having been seriously injured in violent clashes with rival fans and locals in the hours leading up to the Group B game. Police had to resuscitate one fan after he was filmed being dragged to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head, apparently by several Russians, leaving him unconscious. Another was also said to be in critical condition, while several more bloodied England fans nursed head wounds and needed attention from emergency services.

“Regarding the trouble in Marseille today, the Football Association is very disappointed by the terrible scenes of disorder and condemns such behaviour,” said an FA spokesman when asked about the pre-match fighting. “It is now in the hands of the relevant authorities to identify those involved and deal with them appropriately. At this time the FA urges England supporters to act in an appropriate manner and support England in the right way.”

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While the English involvement in the scenes in the city centre prompted the former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe to tell the Observer that it was an “embarrassing day” for the country, it is the Russian Football Federation that is likely to be sanctioned for the incidents at the final whistle. Flares, smuggled into the stadium despite increased security checks around the ground, had been lit towards the end as Leonid Slutsky’s side trailed 1-0, with at least one firework fired across the pitch while play went on.

Uefa’s disciplinary judges are likely to take into account Russia fans’ track record when determining what sanction can be imposed. The Russian federation was fined €120,000 and subjected to a six-point deduction for the Euro 2016 qualifying competition, suspended until the end of the play-offs, after setting off fireworks and displaying illicit banners during a Euro 2012 Group A match against the Czech Republic in Wroclaw. That punishment was reduced on appeal.

Aleksandr Shprigin, head of the Russia football fans’ union, speaking to the Russian news agency Tass, claimed there had been no trouble at the end. “There was no clash,” he said, somewhat mystifyingly.

“The entire English sector just got up and ran away. There were no scuffles, police were standing there. Everything is OK. The police are working well.” Slutsky refused to comment, and even denied any charge relating to the trouble in Poland four years ago.

The Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, told R-Sport that fans who behaved in appropriately would be identified and punished but said the scale of the trouble had been exaggerated and blamed “weak” security.

“There was no clash … that’s being exaggerated, in fact everything is fine here. When the match ended, there was no barrier between the fans. The British were upset, of course, but it all quickly dissolved,” he said. “Such matches should be organised properly. It is necessary to separate the fans [at the stadium]. The bad thing is that there were firecrackers and flares. There were no nets. One must understand these things.”

Russia is due to host the 2018 World Cup and Mutko said the violent scenes involving the country’s fans had no bearing on that. “What’s the 2018 World Cup got to do with it?” he told the Associated Press. The chief executive of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee, Alexei Sorokin, said “the World Cup is in two years, this is a different tournament”.

The Russia striker Artem Dzyuba said: “I thank all our fans. It was a really warm atmosphere tonight.”

England’s players had been deflated by Russia’s late equaliser, which prevented Roy Hodgson’s side from achieving a first ever win in their opening fixture of a European Championship, after what had been – up to then – a hugely encouraging performance.

“To say we’re bitterly disappointed would be an understatement,” said Hodgson. “To get that close to a victory which would have been deserved, then to lose it with one minute of injury-time to go … it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

“But it won’t take us long to get over it. When we analyse the game, and start preparing for Wales [on Thursday], there’ll be a lot of things we’ll want to take forward and we’ll be able to put the memory of that last-minute goal behind us.”

Those sentiments were echoed by the England goalscorer, Eric Dier. “We’re very disappointed to have given away the draw like that,” he said. “It wasn’t down to inexperience. We just didn’t see it out in the right way. But we didn’t lose. We have to pick ourselves up again and go again. I thought the level [of performance] was very high, but we have to put this game behind us and move on. There are positives to be taken out of this.”

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The Guardian

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