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Euro 2016: UEFA threaten England and Russia with disqualification if fan violence continues

Russians fans clashed with England fans in Marseille before and after the game at Stade Velodrome

England Russia disqualification Euro 2016
Fans from England and Russia after the final whistle at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille

UEFA’s Executive Committee have warned the England FA and the Russian Football Union that their teams could be disqualified from Euro 2016 if there is further violence, according to the Associated Press. UEFA have already started disciplinary proceedings against Russia for the manner in which fans behaved at the 1-1 draw with England in Marseille.

After three days of violence on the streets of Marseille saw local French police disperse large crowds with the help of tear gas and water cannons, the match itself was a venue for more violence, especially from the Russian contingent.

The final whistle at the Stade Velodrome saw Russian fans break through the security cordon to assault English fans by kicking and punching them, the majority of whom were seeing fleeing for their own safety by vaulting over the barricades and fences. Flares were also lit and one flare was fired with the help of a gun at a section of fans in another stand. 

Even if England fans were guilty of violence before the game, incidents of violence outside the stadium do not fall under the purview of UEFA and hence only the Russian Football Union has seen disciplinary proceedings opened against them. 

UEFA’s statement on England-Russia fan violence

“The UEFA Executive Committee would like to express its disgust for the violent clashes which occurred in the city of Marseille. Such unacceptable behaviour by so-called supporters of the national teams of England and Russia has no place in football, a sport we must protect and defend.

“The UEFA Executive Committee has warned both football associations that – irrespective of any decisions taken by the independent disciplinary bodies relating to incidents inside the stadium – it will not hesitate to impose additional sanctions on the Football Association (FA) and the Russian Football Union (RFU), including the potential disqualification of their respective teams from the tournament, should such violence occur again.

“We urge both the FA and the RFU to appeal to their supporters to behave in a responsible and respectful manner. We would also like to publicly voice our support for the work of the French Authorities and security forces for their efforts to deliver a safe and secure tournament in challenging circumstances.”

UEFA acknowledged the fact that the security measures at the stadium were not adequate and promised to “implement corrective measures to strengthen the deployment of security personnel at stadiums” with the help of local law enforcement and authorities. 

Similar incidents at Euro 2000 saw England warned with a possible exclusion from the rest of the tournament when fans were caught rioting in Charleroi, Belgium. Even four years ago, Russia were threatened with a 3-match stadium closure after their fans were found guilty of violence.

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