FA slams violent hooligans in Porto

A video grab of police clashing with England fans at a Nations League fan zone in Porto on Wednesday. Three fans were reportedly arrested.
A video grab of police clashing with England fans at a Nations League fan zone in Porto on Wednesday. Three fans were reportedly arrested.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • England's Football Association has labelled troublemaking fans at the Nations League in Portugal "an embarrassment" after they clashed with police on Wednesday night.

Riot police charged England fans in the centre of Porto after beer glasses were thrown in the special fan zone set up for the Nations League finals.

"The FA strongly condemns the scenes witnessed in Porto overnight.

"Anyone responsible for these disturbances cannot be seen as true England supporters and are not welcome in football," said the FA statement.

"They are an embarrassment to the team and the thousands of well-behaved fans who follow England in the right way. We are liaising with the UK Football Policing Unit."

England supporters were staying in Porto ahead of yesterday's semi-final in nearby Guimaraes against the Netherlands and had gathered in the fan zone to watch Wednesday's match between Portugal and Switzerland, which the hosts won 3-1 with a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, on outdoor big screens.

The Guardian newspaper reported that hundreds of England fans were baton-charged by riot police after they threw beer glasses.

Police condemned the "completely unacceptable" behaviour which also included smashing a car window, forcing roads to be closed to traffic and singing offensive songs.

Three England fans were reportedly arrested.

"There was a scuffle between English and Portuguese supporters, with bottles thrown, and the police had to intervene," Portuguese police spokesman Alexandre Coimbra told Agence France-Presse.

"The English supporters turned against the police who arrested two of them and identified a third."

However, several England fans said they had been unfairly targeted by police. One supporter showed The Guardian a large welt on his back, which he said had been caused by a police baton.

"I was just watching the match with my mates when it all kicked off," he said.

"Someone came at me from the side and whacked me."

The incidents are hugely frustrating for the FA, which only last week urged supporters of the national team to stamp out "embarrassing" anti-social behaviour.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2019, with the headline 'FA slams violent hooligans in Porto'. Print Edition | Subscribe