Two England fans jailed amid crowd violence

They will also be banned from entering France from two years

BY Newstalk 15:45 Monday 13 June 2016, 15:45 13 Jun 2016

Image: Ariel Schalit / AP/Press Association Images

Two England football fans have been jailed after taking part in violent clashes that erupted at Euro 2016 in Marseille over the weekend.

Alexander Booth and Ian Hepworth were jailed for two months and three months respectively and banned from France for two years each after appearing in court in connection with the disorder.

It comes as French authorities admitted that around 150 "hyper violent" Russian football hooligans escaped arrest, and that a teenage England fan was among six Britons that have been charged with public order offences.

England supporters were forced to flee the stands shortly after the end of the 1-1 draw between the two sides on Saturday as thugs broke through a line of stewards and started attacking them inside the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

The city's prosecutor Brice Robin described the Russians as "extremely well-trained" and "prepared for hyper-fast and hyper-violent acts".

But he said they had slipped through police surveillance and only two Russians had been arrested over a pitch invasion.

"I don't want to say they are professionals in violence but those are very well trained people," Robin said.

The disorder on Saturday was the climax to three days of violence between English, Russian and French fans that left dozens injured.

Police used water cannon, tear gas, dogs and batons to control England fans at the old port in Marseille, and outside the stadium just before England kicked off their campaign.

A total of 10 people, including the six Britons, an Austrian and three Frenchmen, are being tried today, Mr Robin confirmed.

He said he had personally spoken to tournament organiser UEFA to have the 16-year-old boy's tickets for future games cancelled.

The charges follow the arrest of 116 people related to disorder since the start of the championships.

The violence was the worst seen at an international tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.

Three people have been expelled from France and five others barred from entering the country because "of the risk they pose to public order", Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

UEFA described the behaviour of fans from both sides involved in the disturbances before and after the game with Russia as "unacceptable".

It said it would not hesitate to impose disqualification sanctions if the scenes witnessed in Marseille are repeated.

A 50-year-old England supporter in a "critical but stable" condition in hospital with severe brain injuries has been named as Andrew Bache.

The Portsmouth supporter was reportedly assaulted by Russian fans armed with iron bars before the game between the two sides.

A fundraising page has so far collected more than £4,000 for Mr Bache.

Meanwhile, an ultra-nationalist Russian politician has praised the country's fans for fighting England supporters and has told them to "keep it up!"

Igor Lebedev, who also sits on the Russian Football Union executive committee, said on Twitter: "I don't see anything wrong with fans fighting."

He said the violence was "not the fans' fault" and blamed the French police's "inability to organise such events".


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