English FA has ‘serious concerns’ over Lille security
MARSEILLE – England’s FA has “serious concerns” over security plans ahead of the Euro 2016 tie against Wales in Lens on Thursday with fans of Roy Hodgson’s team ready to go to nearby Lille where Russia play Slovakia on Wednesday.
Chairman Greg Dyke has written to organisers UEFA expressing the FA’s worries after French prosecutors said 150 Russian hooligans were behind the violence in Marseille when their side played England on Saturday.
“We understand there is to be an alcohol ban across the host cities and we would welcome this, particularly in Lille on Wednesday where many English fans have been asked to gather ahead of Thursday’s match against Wales,” Dyke wrote.
“We have, following consultation with the authorities, advised our supporters without tickets for the match in Lens to congregate there and, whilst we will be working hard to positively influence their behaviour, we have serious concerns around the security arrangements for the city in the next few days,” British media quoted Dyke as saying in the letter.
“These concerns are heightened with the knowledge that Russia will play in Lille on Wednesday afternoon.”
European soccer’s governing body UEFA said it was “disgusted” by melees inside and outside the stadium in Marseille and has threatened to expel Russia and England from the championship if the violence persists.
On Monday a Marseille court began hearing fast-track trials of 10 people held in police custody, six Britons, three French nationals and an Austrian.
All were charged with violence involving a weapon, mostly against law enforcement officers.
Five England fans have been jailed following the violence while two Russians have been arrested for invading the pitch.
England drew 1-1 with Russia in Marseille, meaning this week’s second round of Group B matches have taken on added importance in terms of the two nations’ hopes of reaching the last 16 after Wales beat Slovakia 2-1 to top the section. –REUTERS