Uefa opens case against Russia after stadium violence
Hordes of Russia fans stormed the England end in their Group B match in Bordeaux
Fans clash after the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between England and Russia at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images
Ugly clashes in Marseille marred the build-up to the eagerly-anticipated Group B clash, with English, Russian and French fans involved in trouble over three days.
There had been a calmer atmosphere inside the Stade Velodrome, only for more unseemly behaviour to spoil an entertaining 1-1 draw in which Vasili Berezutsky’s late header cancelled out an Eric Dier free-kick.
Uefa has taken swift action and announced on Sunday morning it had opened disciplinary proceedings against the Football Union of Russia, two years from hosting the World Cup.
European football’s governing body handed down charges for alleged crowd disturbances, racist behaviour and the setting off of fireworks by Russia fans, with the case to be dealt with by the Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on Tuesday.
England have avoided any charges and Uefa confirmed before kick-off that incidents outside the Stade Velodrome perimeter fell outside its remit.
Uefa said in a statement on Sunday: “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 Velodrome.
“This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and has no place in football.
“Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Russian Football Union (RFU) for the following events occurring inside the stadium: crowd disturbances, setting off of fireworks and throwing of missiles.
“A decision on the sanctions to be imposed will be made within the next few days, once the RFU has been able to submit written statements and evidence.
“Uefa acknowledges that there were segregation issues at Stade Velodrome and will implement corrective measures to strengthen the deployment of security personnel at stadiums, in close collaboration with local authorities.”
After flares and a firecracker were let off — both items are banned from ground - at the end of Saturday’s match, Russian fans appeared to attack English supporters, breaking through barriers in the South Stand.
Those under attack were seen running for safety and before the match as many as 20 England fans were injured, with reportedly several seriously hurt, in bloody clashes between rival fans around the Old Port area.
French police used a water cannon and tear gas on rioters as fist fights and bottle throwing broke out.
England supporters were involved in running battles with French police in the centre of Marseille at the 1998 World Cup and problems on Thursday evening proved a precursor for more issues.
Four years ago, Uefa imposed a series of sanctions on Russia, including a £120,000 fine, for their fans’ behaviour in the previous European Championship held in Poland and Ukraine.
Russia has long been dogged with issues relating to racism, with Fare executive director Piara Powar warning last December there “will be incidents inside stadiums, around stadiums” during the 2018 World Cup.
The head of the anti-discrimination and social inclusion network warned it was merely a case of the frequency and severity of racism in Russia.
Fare observers were dotted around the Stade Velodrome on Saturday, although there has yet to be confirmation on the nature of the racist behaviour.