Hooliganism scars Euro 2016 as England, Russia risk ejection

Published 10:18 am Monday, June 13, 2016

PARIS — Football hooliganism has been making a comeback at the European Championship and is challenging French authorities who have struggled to deal with the sudden surge in violence.

England and Russia were threatened with expulsion from Euro 2016 by UEFA on Sunday if there is further violence from their fans during the tournament. Clashes between English and Russian hooligans escalated over three days in the center of Marseille before vicious fighting spread to the stadium on Saturday.

Hooliganism that tarnished English soccer in the 1970s, 80s and 90s has been largely eradicated from domestic matches. Arrest figures at English matches have dramatically declined through the 21st century. There were few problems from England fans at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the 2010 tournament in South Africa or Euro 2012, which was hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

Email newsletter signup

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that 116 people had been arrested since Friday in incidents connected to the tournament, with 63 of them still being held in prison and the rest released. Three people had been expelled from France and five others barred from entering France, the ministry said.

UEFA acknowledged there were “segregation issues” at the Stade Velodrome where Russia and England drew 1-1 and said it “will implement corrective measures to strengthen the deployment of security personnel at stadiums, in close collaboration with local authorities.”

Russia, which hosts the World Cup in two years, is already facing UEFA sanctions after its fans were deemed to have orchestrated disorder inside the stadium. English fans behind one of the goals were attacked after the game as stewards failed to keep the rivals apart.

UEFA expressed its “utter disgust” about the running battles involving the English, Russians and locals that started Thursday in the center of the Mediterranean port city. Russia has been charged by UEFA over crowd disturbances, racist behavior by fans and the setting off of fireworks at the game. UEFA’s disciplinary body will judge the case on Tuesday.