Russian far-right agitator, expelled by France, is arrested back at Euro 2016

Shprygin (centre) answers journalists questions in Moscow on June 18, 2016, after being expelled from France.
Shprygin (centre) answers journalists questions in Moscow on June 18, 2016, after being expelled from France.PHOTO: AFP

TOULOUSE, France (AFP) - French police on Monday (June 20) arrested Russian far-right football fan leader Alexander Shprygin watching his country at Euro 2016 just two days after he was expelled from France over fan violence, the interior ministry said.

Shortly before his detention, Shprygin told AFP by telephone from the stadium: “I am at the match with a ticket.

“The French authorities told me I was not deported but just expelled, my Schengen visa has not been cancelled and all the stamps are there. So I can legally be in the European Union.”

Shprygin also posted photographs of himself outside the stadium in Toulouse on his Twitter account, wearing a blue straw hat and sunglasses.

Russian fans have been accused of staging an orchestrated campaign of violence against England supporters before their Euro 2016 match in Marseille on June 11.

Shprygin, who works for nationalist lawmaker Igor Lebedev and heads Russia’s national supporters’ association, was among 43 Russian fans arrested in southern France three days after the Marseille turmoil.

Three of the group were jailed for up to two years for their role in the violence. French investigators believe there were other well-prepared hooligans among the group but they did not have enough evidence to press charges.

Twenty of the group, including Shprygin, were expelled from the country on Saturday.

But on his arrival in Moscow, he vowed he would return.

His renewed presence in France poses questions for the French authorities.

Russia were losing 2-0 to Wales at half-time of the match in Toulouse and appeared to be heading out of the tournament.