Euro 2016: ‘Disgusted’ Uefa charge Russia over fan violence

Euro 2016

Euro 2016 : Uefa has begun disciplinary proceedings against Russia’s Football Union after “totally unacceptable” scenes at Saturday’s England-Russia game.

Footage appeared to show Russia fans rush at England supporters after the Euro 2016 1-1 draw in Marseille.

Charges against Russia were for crowd disturbances, racist behaviour, and setting off fireworks, Uefa confirmed.

There were issues with segregation of fans, the body admitted, promising security would be “strengthened”.

Witnesses said trouble began in the stadium after flares were let off by Russian fans near the end of the game. Some then climbed across barriers designed to keep rival fans apart.

‘Violence raises serious questions’

Vardy’s wife tear-gassed in Marseille

A number of Russia supporters appeared to kick and punch fleeing England fans, who were forced to clamber over fencing to escape.

Earlier in the day, England, Russia and local fans were embroiled in clashes with riot police, with a number of bloodied fans being taken to hospital.

‘Utter disgust’

Responding to Uefa’s announcement, Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko it had “done the right thing” to start a disciplinary case, R-Sport news agency reported.

“It’s the right thing, there were flares, there was a flare gun, there had been clashes in the stands, it’s necessary to sort all of this out,” he reportedly said.

“The fans were rooting greatly, but there are people who do not come for the football.”

He was earlier quoted as saying there were “many nuances” to what happened, and Russian officials would investigate.

Fans clash inside the stadium
Image captionRussia fans rushed towards England fans at the end of the match
Fans in Marseille stadium climb fences to escape trouble

In statement, European football’s governing body expressed “utter disgust” over the clashes in the city centre, and “serious concern” at the incidents inside the Stade Velodrome.

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“This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and has no place in football,” it said.

“Corrective measures” to strengthen the deployment of security personnel would be implemented, it added.

Meanwhile, the world football governing body Fifa strongly condemned the “shameful scenes” between “idiotic troublemakers” at the European Championship.

‘Slack’ security

England spectators who were at the match have described a “desperate scramble” to escape charging Russia fans, some of who were wearing gum shields and MMA (mixed martial arts) gloves, one witness claimed.

Cory McLeod, who was in the stadium, told the BBC: “A wall of Russian fans charged at our section, which had kids, women, and even some Russian fans in.

“I couldn’t see if any of them had weapons or anything but people were running fast, it was manic, just a desperate scramble towards a large fence in the corner.”

Others spoke of “slack” security at the entry to the stadium. Sam Blackwell, from Kingston upon Thames, south-west London, said the only search was “a quick pat down”.

“This would go a long way to explaining how the Russian fans got flares, fireworks and whatever the big bang was into the ground.”

Sanctions against Russia will be decided at a disciplinary meeting on Tuesday, once the Russians had been able to submit written statements and evidence, Uefa said.

BBC sports editor Dan Roan said as hosts of the 2018 World Cup, Russia was under intense scrutiny.

Fans ‘caged’

Uefa’s decision would also come under scrutiny, he said, with Russia’s next Euro 2016 match against Slovakia taking place in Lille on Wednesday, the day before England’s match against Wales just 24 miles away in Lens.

Russia were previously punished for the behaviour of their fans inside stadiums at all three of their group games during Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Its football union was fined a total of £150,000 and given a suspended six-point deduction from its qualifying campaign for Euro 2016. This was reduced on appeal

Uefa said it had not taken any action against the English FA, as skirmishes involving England fans in Marseille’s Old Port area before kick-off fell outside its remit.

Police in riot gear clashed with England fans in the city and used tear gas for a third day on Saturday, as well as water cannon, as fist fights and bottle throwing broke out.

Wife of England and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, Rebekah, tweeted that she was among bystanders gassed and “caged” by French officials outside the stadium.

Media captionEuro 2016: French police fire tear gas in Marseille
England fans in Marseille amid a cloud of tear gas
Image captionSkirmishes also broke out ahead of the game in the city’s port area
Police using tear gas
Image captionPolice used tear gas for a third day

As many as 20 England fans have been injured, with a number taken to hospital, and at least one Briton is understood to be in a critical condition.

There were also clashes in the city of Nice between police and fans from Northern Ireland and Poland, who are due to play their opening match later on Sunday. Six people were reportedly injured, before order was restored.

‘Extreme violence’

Speaking earlier, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said the security issues inside the stadium needed to be addressed immediately.

The MP had previously criticised England fans’ behaviour in the days before the match, but said inside the stadium England fans were subjected to “pretty extreme violence” from Russia supporters which appeared to be orchestrated.

People run after police fired tear gas following clashes after the Euro 2016 soccer championship group B match between England and Russia in Marseille
Image captionThere were clashes on the streets of Marseille before and after England’s opening game of Euro 2016

“Those things need to be addressed immediately, because there is a lot more football to be played and we cannot have people inside stadiums fearing for their safety,” Mr Burnham said.

He also called for the UK government to respond to the incident with a statement in Parliament to clarify “the facts”.

Marseille’s Stade Velodrome next hosts a match on Wednesday, when France play Albania. Euro 2016 Euro 2016

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