: BBC: French government calls for alcohol ban in match zones

11:07 Jun. 13, 2016

BBC: French government calls for alcohol ban in match zones

A tear gas canister explodes as England fans clash with police in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Getty Images)

It follows three days of clashes between fans and police in Marseille

UEFA is investigating after Russia supporters appeared to rush at England fans in the stadium after their draw on Saturday. It has threatened to ban both teams if there is further fan violence. The UK government has offered to send extra British police ahead of England's next match in Lens on Thursday.

'Totally unacceptable'

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said: "I have asked for all necessary measures to be taken to prohibit the sale, consumption and transport of alcoholic drinks in sensitive areas on match days and the day before, and on days when fan zones are open."

The ban will include public areas, as well as shops and off-licences, Mr Cazeneuve said. Senior local officials can also ban bars and cafes from serving drinks on their terraces in containers that can be used as missiles. "The events which took place in Marseille... are unacceptable. Unacceptable for the authorities, unacceptable for society, unacceptable for football lovers," Mr Cazeneuve said.

Russia's next match against Slovakia will take place in Lille on Wednesday - the day before England's match against Wales just 24 miles away in Lens.

Read also Reuters: World champions Germany beat Ukraine in their Euro opener

Lens has already banned alcohol from being sold and fans without tickets for the match or fan zone have been told not to travel. However, Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters' Federation, which represents fans in England and Wales, said a ban would not work.

"What we've seen there is groups of locals getting together and Russian hooligans getting together with the deliberate intent of attacking football fans, English fans primarily, while they've been enjoying their drinking and their eating at places," he said.

"And I've been personally the victim of that. But the crucial thing is here, the Russians and the locals here who have been attacking football fans have been stone cold sober. They don't drink, they are consciously focused, they train for six months, preparing for acts of hooliganism and violence like this. They're not drunk, that's not what's caused the violence here."

Violent scenes

On Sunday, UEFA, European football's governing body, announced it had begun disciplinary proceedings against Russia - but not England - after "totally unacceptable" scenes at the England-Russia game which ended 1-1. Charges against Russia are for crowd disturbances, racist behaviour, and setting off fireworks, UEFA said. 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.

A number of Russia supporters appeared to kick and punch fleeing England fans, who were forced to clamber over fencing to escape. Sanctions against Russia will be decided at a disciplinary meeting on Tuesday, UEFA said.

Read also Ukrainian and German fans clash in Lille before the start of the match (video)

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said a letter from UEFA about fans' behaviour, was being treated with the "utmost seriousness". "We understand the potential implications of our supporters' actions and wholly accept that every effort needs to be made by the FA to positively urge them to act in a responsible and respectful way," he said in a statement.

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