Euro 2016: England and Russia could both be disqualified
Uefa warns further violence from fans may result in teams being barred
England fans throw bottles and clash with police ahead of the Euro 2016 Group B game against Russia in Marseille. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images.
Uefa has warned England and Russia their teams could be disqualified from Euro 2016 if their fans are involved in further violence.
European football’s governing body expressed its “utter disgust” and opened disciplinary proceedings against Russia for crowd disturbances, racist behaviour by fans and fireworks being set off during the match against England in Marseille on Saturday. A parallel case has not been opened against the English Football Association.
Uefa has also acknowledged issues with the segregation inside the stadium and promised to beef it up for the remainder of the tournament, while sources have admitted that the scheduling of the match in Marseille on a Saturday night was a mistake. Fleeing families The French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, meanwhile, has announced France will now ban alcohol sale and consumption in certain high- risk areas, following the disruption in Marseille. The alcohol ban will be enforced the day before and the day of matches. Local authorities could also ban restaurants from having glasses or bottles on their pavement terraces that could be used as projectiles.
Russian fans broke through lax security inside the stadium at the end of the match to attack England fans, including families, who were fleeing for the exit. Earlier in the day, around 200 Russians had attacked England supporters in the old port area of the city, causing serious injuries.
Before that there had been three days of running battles between combative England fans, locals and the police, who regularly employed tear gas. Uefa has consistently maintained that it can sanction its members only for events that take place inside the stadium.
“Uefa expresses its utter disgust for the violent clashes that occurred in the city centre of Marseille, and its serious concern for the incidents at the end of the match inside Stade Vélodrome,” it said in a statement. “This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and has no place in football.”
The charges against Russia included fireworks being let off inside the stadium and racist behaviour, thought to be the display of a flag with the Celtic cross – a symbol which has been adopted by neo-Nazi and fascist groups. Sanctions Uefa’s control, ethics and disciplinary body will meet on Tuesday to decide on sanctions against Russia before their next game against Slovakia in Lille the following day.
Uefa also promised to beef up segregation inside stadiums, which appeared to be all but non-existent as a handful of stewards were overwhelmed by Russian fans charging at panicking England supporters at the end of the match.
However, Uefa and Euro 2016 organisers will also face questions over the policing arrangements, amid increasingly loud demands to know why the match was played in Marseille in the first place.
There is understood to be an acknowledgment within Uefa that sticking slavishly to the idea of slotting matches randomly into pre-selected venues is flawed.
Vitaly Mutko, the Russia sports minister who led its successful bid to host the 2018 World Cup and sits on Fifa’s executive committee, insisted the trouble in Marseille had been exaggerated and blamed organisers for poor segregation. Guardian Service