Monday 26 September 2016

Chaotic scenes in Marseille as English and Russian fans, locals and police clash before and after Euro 2016 game

There were also reports of attacks on Northern Ireland football fans by local "ultras" in Nice

Tom White

Published 12/06/2016 | 07:35

Scenes in Marseille last night
Scenes in Marseille last night
England fans try to escape trouble in the stadium at full time
England fans climb over a fence to escape trouble in the stadium after the game
Tempers flare between rival fans in the stands
England fans climb over fences as they try to escape trouble in the stadium at full time
England fans climb over fences as they try to escape trouble in the stadium at full time
England fans try to escape trouble in the stadium as clashes breakout
A soccer fan removes flag after the match
Tempers flare between Russia and England fans
Russian fans charge at English
Russian fans attack English
England supporters throw projectiles at the old port of Marseille before the game
An injured supporter at the port of Marseille before the game

Chaos surrounded England's first Euro 2016 finals match with fans attacked by Russian thugs inside the stadium after a third day of violence in Marseille left several British supporters in hospital.

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England fans were seen fleeing from the Stade Velodrome shortly after the final whistle was blown on the 1-1 draw as Balaclava-clad thugs punched through a line of stewards before attacking bystanders.

At least one Briton is understood to have been left seriously ill after a day of disorder in the Mediterranean port city left as many as 20 England fans injured.

The scenes from Marseille were described by the FA as "terrible" as it called on the local authorities to deal with the perpetrators swiftly.

There were also reports of attacks on Northern Ireland football fans by local "ultras" in Nice, where the side will play Poland later.

It is understood that Uefa will open disciplinary proceedings over the stadium violence, with Russia potentially facing strong sanctions.

The incident raises serious questions about French security at a time when the country is on high alert after November's terrorist attacks on Paris.

Spectators reported seeing stewards in the ground at the end of the game, but no police officers.

Just before the end of the game white flares were lit in the Russian end, followed by a green rocket which went over England goalkeeper Joe Hart's goal. This was followed by a bang and then a red firework.

England had earlier seen Eric Dier's sublime free-kick cancelled out by Vasili Berezutsky as Russia ended the game with a lucky point.

Police clash with England fans ahead of the game against Russia
Police clash with England fans ahead of the game against Russia
An man injured in clashes is assisted by police officers in downtown Marseille
Rival supporters clash at the old port of Marseille before the game
Rival supporters clash at the old port of Marseille before the game
Rival supporters clash at the old port of Marseille before the game
Rival supporters clash at the old port of Marseille
The scene of destruction after football fans clashed ahead of the England vs Russia

Irish and Northern Irish fans have been mixing with Swedish and French fans in Paris with no trouble in recent days.

And in south-west France earlier on Saturday there were peaceful and joyous scenes as Wales marked their first European Championship appearance with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Bordeaux.

But 315 miles to the south-east, it was a different story.

French police had used water cannon and tear gas on rioters hours before the game started.

Fist fights and bottle throwing broke out between the England supporters and their Russian and French counterparts in Marseille's Old Port on Saturday afternoon.

Rebekah Vardy, the new wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, tweeted that she was caught up in the "horrific" violence before kick-off.

She wrote: "That has to be up there with the worst experience EVER at an away game! Teargassed for no reason, caged and treated like animals! Shocking!"

According to France's BFM TV, 31 people were injured, four seriously, with one fighting for his life. Three police officers were also hurt, and six people were arrested the channel said.

Julian King, British ambassador to France, tweeted: "Number of Brits in hospital overnight. Consular following closely with French authorities."

England coach Roy Hodgson refused to comment in detail on the incidents, but said the players "weren't particularly aware (of what happened) and it certainly had no effect on our preparation for the game and our performance in the game."

Speaking at a post-match conference, FA spokesman Mark Whittle said the day's events were regrettable.

"The FA is very disappointed about the terrible scenes of disorder and of course condemns such behaviour.

"It is now in the hands of the relevant authorities to identify those involved in trouble and deal with them appropriately and quickly.

"At this time the FA urges England supporters to act in a respectful manner and support England in the right way."

Despite the chaotic post-match scenes inside England and Russian fans were later seen drifting away from the stadium peacefully from the area.

However the atmosphere remained tense at the Old Port, with police repeatedly firing tear gas at groups of fans, reportedly including a large group of French people. However, there were far fewer people near the port than in the past two evenings.

And there was additional concern late on Saturday after an incident on the city's metro left a French woman needing hospital treatment.

Meanwhile in Nice French riot police were called in to disperse local "ultras" who attacked Northern Ireland football fans, a senior supporters' representative said.

Gary McAllister, chairman of the Northern Ireland supporters' clubs, tweeted: "Local ultras attacked Polish and NI fans who were mixing well.

"French riot police dispersed locals."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are in contact with French authorities about a British national injured in Marseille and stand ready to provide further support."

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