'Worst experience ever' - Jamie Vardy's wife caught up in Marseille chaos as UEFA launch investigation
Published 12/06/2016 | 10:44
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!"
UEFA has opened proceedings against the Russian Football Union following alleged crowd disturbances, racist behaviour and the setting off of fireworks by Russia fans during yesterday's Euro 2016 match against England in Marseille.
UEFA is poised to launch an investigation after trouble flared between fans after England's Euro 2016 1-1 draw with Russia.
England fans appeared to come under attack from Russian supporters who broke through barriers inside Marseille's Stade Velodrome after the final whistle.
Press Association Sport understands UEFA will now investigate the incidents, which came after a third day of violence in the Mediterranean port city which left as many as 20 England fans injury, with reportedly several seriously hurt in bloody clashes between rival fans.
In addition to the confrontations between rival sets of fans, fireworks were also set off inside the stadium, raising questions about security as they should not have been allowed inside the ground.
Two large white flares were set off in the Russian end of the ground, while fireworks were also let off, with a large bang heard from behind the goal defended by England's Joe Hart.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of England and Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, was at the match, and wrote on Twitter that she had been caught up in trouble prior to kick-off.
"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!" she tweeted.
"I witnessed this with my own eyes! I can't comment on things I didn't see but what I got caught up in was horrific and uncalled for!
"And this happened before the game even kicked off!"
Prior to the match, French police used water cannon and tear gas on rioters as fist fights and bottle throwing broke out between rival supporters in Marseille's Old Port.
Football Association head of communications Mark Whittle read out a statement in a post-match press conference.
"We regret the trouble in Marseille today. 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."
French newspaper L'Equipe reported that two England fans were in a critical condition after the running battles in the square and on side streets on Saturday afternoon, with a further 11 receiving minor injuries.
England fan Michael Tashall from London, was in Marseilles as the violence erupted.
He told the Press Association: "We were in the Old Port town and the Russian ultras ganged up with the Marseilles ultras and attacked the English supporters that were sitting there drinking beers.
"You go into town now and there are English supporters with blood pouring from their head from the Russians' attacks. They are outrageous. The World Cup in Russia should be taken away from them. It is an outrage."
In south-west France there were peaceful and joyous scenes as Wales marked their first ever European Championship appearance with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Bordeaux. But 315 miles to the south-east, it was a different story.
Social media was awash with pictures and phone video of savage violence in Marseille as the fans clashed, with chairs among items thrown and scenes of people being punched and kicked.
Broken glass lay strewn across the square and crunched underfoot as the police fired tear gas into the crowds causing them to run.
Fans were seen being beaten to the floor and repeatedly kicked in the head.
One English fan was seen sat on the floor covered in blood with a bandage round his head while another man was reportedly given CPR and taken to hospital after an apparent cardiac arrest.
Police water cannon arrived to try to control the fighting as they struggled to hold back the different groups.
Bloodied fans were seen fleeing the scene as missiles continued to be thrown.
Some of the streets close to the port were left covered in streams of blood and broken glass.
Eyewitnesses said a group of Russian hooligans arrived before fighting began.
Chairs from outside bars and cafes had been smashed apart and used as weapons. Some were covered in blood.
Car windscreens had also been smashed during the fighting.
Onlookers said the area looked "like a war zone".
Hundreds of people were contained within the area by a long line of riot police police who had formed a line.
Some people were chanting "England" or "Russia".
Prior to the trouble in the stadium, UEFA had issued a statement condemning the violence but saying it could only take disciplinary action "for incidents which happen within the stadium perimeter".
It added: "UEFA firmly condemns the incidents in Marseille. People engaging in such violent acts have no place in football."
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."
Speaking after the match, Russia and Zenit St Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba had praised Russia's fans.
He said: "I think fate was definitely on our side. I thank all our fans. It was a really warm atmosphere tonight.
"We used everything here to equalise and this is also down to them."