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French prefect blames English fans for provoking clashes with Russians in Marseille

June 15, 10:57 UTC+3 PARIS
Nevertheless, both sides bear responsibility for last week’s events at Marseille’s State Velodrome
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English supporters chant slogans as they clash with Russian supporters

English supporters chant slogans as they clash with Russian supporters

© EPA/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

PARIS, June 15./TASS/. Both sides bear responsibility for last week’s events at Marseille’s State Velodrome, but England fans provoked the clashes with Russians, police prefect in southern France’s Bouches-du-Rhone department Laurent Nunez told the Europe 1 radio station on Wednesday.

The Russia-England game took place in Marseille on June 11 but clashes between the Russian and English fans began two days earlier and culminated on the match day. The fans of the Russian team shot two flare guns, then broke into England’s sector and a brawl between the two camps began. Police resorted to tear gas, smoke pellets and water cannons to disperse the brawlers.

The police prefect stressed that the Russian fans attacked England fans only after the final whistle sounded at the match. "Second, one should note that both sides are to blame for the incident, as the British fans provoked the Russians by showing an aggressive behavior. We also found out that several British fans had even bought on purpose the tickets from Russians to sit at a tribune where the Russian fans were. This presence became one of the reasons for the increased tensions," the prefect said.

The French Interior Ministry’s forces "did not have to interfere in the situation at the stadium then as it was under control of the Velodrome security service," Nunez said, adding that security at the Marseille stadium will be tightened during the match between Poland and Ukraine and also other games posing a potential threat.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced on Tuesday its decision to fine the Russian Football Union (RFU) 150,000 euros ($168,200) over Russian football fans’ misconduct during their national team’s opening match of the 2016 Euro Cup against England last week in Marseille.

The European governing body of football also issued a suspended disqualification for the Russian team, which means that the national squad would be disqualified from the major European football tournament in case of the repeated instance of Russian fans misconduct.

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