FA has ‘serious concerns’ over Lille security

Media captionA French prosecutor says there were around 150 Russian “hooligans” who travelled to Marseille “well-prepared for violence”

The FA has “serious concerns” about security in Lille, where England fans and Russian supporters are set to gather for this week’s Euro 2016 matches, chairman Greg Dyke has said.

England fans are due to be in Lille ahead of Thursday’s match against Wales in nearby Lens, while Russia play Slovakia in the city on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say 150 Russian hooligans were behind the violence in Marseille.

Six England fans were jailed after Russia played England on Saturday.

Two Russians have been arrested, both for a pitch invasion.

Both teams could face expulsion by Uefa, the organisers of Euro 2016, if there is any further violence.

In a letter to Uefa in response to this expulsion threat, Mr Dyke rejected the suggestion that England fans were at fault for scenes inside the Stade Velodrome following the match with Russia.

“The implication in your jointly-addressed letter is that English fans were in part responsible for the terrible incidents at the end of the match with Russia,” he wrote.

“This is contradicted both by the video evidence and by the fact your independent disciplinary bodies have only instigated sanctions against the Russian Football Union.”

‘Insufficient segregation’

He said the stewarding in the stadium was “unacceptable” as supporters were able to get in with fireworks and flares, and there was “insufficient segregation” between England and Russian fans.

“A minority of English fans were clearly involved in some of those incidents and that is extremely disappointing to us all, but please also recognise that tens of thousands have behaved in a positive way,” he wrote.

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PA

Image caption

Some Russia supporters had smuggled in flares which they set off at the end of the match

The FA welcomed an alcohol ban across the host cities, he said, “particularly in Lille on Wednesday where many English fans have been asked to gather ahead of Thursday’s match against Wales in Lens”.

“We have, following consultation with the authorities, advised our supporters without tickets for the match in Lens to congregate there,” he wrote.

“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.

“These concerns are heightened with the knowledge that Russia will play in Lille on Wednesday afternoon.”

Uefa is due to deal with its disciplinary proceedings against Russia later.

Charges against Russia are for crowd disturbances, racist behaviour, and setting off fireworks.

Media captionEngland boss Roy Hodgson & Wayne Rooney urge fans to avoid trouble

Meanwhile, England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney appealed directly to fans to “behave themselves”.

And Wales fans without tickets for Thursday’s Euro 2016 match against England have been urged not to travel to host city Lens or nearby Lille.

But thousands of supporters are expected to follow the action at fan zones in the Place Jean Jaures in Lens and Lille, which is 24 miles (39km) away.

More than 35,000 ticket holders are due to watch the clash in the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

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AP

Image caption

Greg Dyke said there was “insufficient segregation” between England and Russian fans during Saturday’s match

Michael Peak and Rebecca Middleton, of Lincoln, have got tickets to six games in the competition including the England v Wales clash.

Speaking before Mr Dyke’s letter was published, Mr Peak, 52, said: “It does seem to be quiet now, but wait until Thursday. I think it will be a great atmosphere.

“I’m going for a 2-0 win for England, but I would like to see Wales get through the group too.”

Rebecca Middleton, 44, said: “Lens does seem to be the wrong place for an England v Wales match.

“You know how many fans you are going to have and it is far too small.”

Five England fans were jailed for throwing bottles at police and a sixth jailed in connection with the violence which broke out over three days in the city of Marseille.

The men, aged from 20 to 41, all appeared at court on Monday and were given sentences of between one and three months.

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