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LILLE /France/, June 16. /TASS/. Alexander Shprygin, the head of the Union of Russian Fans (URF) told TASS on Thursday he will challenge his deportation from France.
According to earlier reports, Shprygin, along with 19 more Russian football fans, who were detained near Cannes, will be expelled from France hosting the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup. Twenty more Russian fans were released.
"We will probably see our consul tomorrow. We will challenge this decision [on expulsion from France]. It is an absolutely absurd award. We can challenge it within two days. We will ask for a lawyer. I was involved in no clashes or anything of the kind," Shprygin said.
According to Shprygin, the Russian fans are likely to be deported on Friday. "So, we have to days to challenge the decision of the French authorities. However, theoretically, they can take us to the airport already tomorrow morning," he said, adding that deportation will be financed by the French authorities.
"I have been given a resolution of Marseille’s prefect which says that according to information provided by the Russian side, we can be members of groups of active fans and hence allegedly pose a threat to security. So, we are to be expelled. I would like to stress: not deported but expelled. They are not deporting us with no right of further entry to the country, they are going to expel us. It means we will keep our visas," he said.
He said that six more people representing associations of fans of Russian football clubs are currently kept by the police in Marseille. "They have been detained for further probe. They are heads of fan clubs of Moscow’s Lokomotiv, Tula’s Arsenal, Rostov, delegates from Moscow’s Dinamo and Orel," he said.
He described the decision to deport Russian fans as "pure hellish arbitrariness." "I have paid for hotel accommodations, air tickets, tickets to the match against Wales," he said.
On Tuesday, local law enforcement officials stopped a bus near Cannes carrying Russian football fans on the way to Lille to see their home team’s second group stage match. According to the French authorities, there were 43 people inside the bus. All were placed under arrest to investigate if they could have been involved in clashes in Marseille.
"Adventures started after Cannes’ police station. We were placed in police cars used to transport convicts. We nearly went crazy driving inside them for 150 kilometers. We reached Marseille’s main police commissariat where we were subjected to investigative actions. We were examined by a doctor to see whether we have any injuries. Then they scrutinized pictures to find out whether there are any from the scene and interrogated us without lawyers, took our fingerprints, seized our belongings and took side-on and full-face photos," Shprygin said. "Then they placed us in real prison. We were kept in lousy conditions."
"There are mere tourists among us. Two girls work with the URF - one is my aide, the other one is an accountant. They are accompanied by the husband and the boyfriend. Apart from that, there is a lawyer from the LDPR [a Russian political party] of 63 years of age. The man came here to watch the European tournament, he is not even a football fan," he said.
"It is sad and disappointing that the Euro Cup may end in such a miserable way for us," he added.