Questions about safety and security at Euro 2016 are being raised, following fan violence and reports, including video footage, of flares being fired at England football fans towards the end of England’s game against Russia at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, France.
Following extensive media coverage of violent clashes between Russian and English footballs fans during the build-up to their opening match in Marseille, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) issued a warning to England and Russia, threatening to disqualify the teams from Euro 2016 if there is any further violence by fans.
UEFA has reportedly also started disciplinary proceedings against Russia, but not England, after describing the scenes before and at Saturday’s England-Russia game as “totally unacceptable".
Video footage circulating extensively on social media clearly shows Russian football hooligans firing a flare gun in the direction of England fans.
In recent years, the Premier League, the Football League and the FA have run a major education campaign in the UK about the danger of pyrotechnics at football grounds.
British football authorities have pointed out that flares, designed for marine distress, contain chemicals that burn at temperatures of 1600°C, the melting point of steel.
Commenting on the letter from UEFA, Martin Glenn, CEO of the FA, said, “We take this letter from UEFA with the utmost seriousness. We understand the potential implications of our supporters’ actions and wholly accept that every effort needs to be made by the FA to positively urge them to act in a responsible and respectful way.”
He added, “Violent scenes like those witnessed over the weekend in Marseille have no place in football, nor society as a whole. We want people — fans and locals — to feel safe and enjoy a festival atmosphere at the Euros and we will continue to work closely with all the relevant authorities to achieve that."