Euro 2016 violence involving Russian fans ‘unacceptable’: Kremlin

Football fans leave the Stade Velodrome in Marseille after the Euro 2016 match between England and Russia on June 11, 2016.
Football fans leave the Stade Velodrome in Marseille after the Euro 2016 match between England and Russia on June 11, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) – The Kremlin on Tuesday (June 14) described “riots” involving Russian fans at Euro 2016 as unacceptable and called on them not to react to any provocation at the tournament.

“This is absolutely unacceptable. We count on Russian citizens and fans to obey the laws of the country they are in,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that “we can only call on our fans not to react to any sort of provocation”.

“Fans from a whole range of countries took part in the riots. Unfortunately from Russia as well,” he said.

Uefa declared Russia responsible for the stadium disturbances, racist chanting and fireworks thrown during the game with England in Marseille on Saturday.

It ordered the “suspended disqualification” of the team in the event of any more disturbances inside stadiums during the tournament and fined the Russian Football Union 150,000 euros (S$230,182).

Reacting to the warning, Russia said it would comply with Uefa’s decision. “What other position can there be?” Sports Minister and Russian Football Union president Vitaly Mutko told TASS news agency. Mutko later told the R-Sport news wire that the punishment was “excessive” but that there was no “no sense” in appealing the decision.

Russia coach Leonid Slutsky said in France: “We are sure that our supporters will not do the same and will not give any reasons to disqualify our team. “We are sure that we are not going to be kicked (out) – there is not going to be any injustice.” 

Local authorities said Tuesday that a group of Russian football supporters was being thrown out of France because it is feared they will cause more trouble.

Authorities were checking the identities of 29 supporters at a hotel near Marseille and some of them will be taken to a holding centre at the border, local authorities told AFP.

Peskov said the consulate in France is providing support to the Russian citizens.

It is believed the supporters intended to travel to the northern city of Lille, where Russia play Slovakia on Wednesday.

After the 1-1 draw in Marseille, Russian fans crossed security barriers inside the Stade Velodrome and attacked England fans. Dozens of English supporters, including women and children, had to flee across security barriers to escape.  

Fans from both sides had also clashed in brutal scenes outside the stadium in the run-up to the match. UEFA had already warned Russia and England that it could disqualify them if there was more trouble. But only Russia was charged over the conduct of its fans.