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UEFA to investigate violence at England and Russia game in Marseille

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
UEFA to investigate violence at England and Russia game in Marseille

European football's governing body UEFA is to begin an investigation into violence which occurred before and after last night's Euro 2016 football match between England and Russia in Marseille.

At least 30 people were injured in the clashes, two of them seriously,after England fans came under attack inside the stadium following the Three Lions' Euro 2016 1-1 draw with Russia.

Reports from the Stade Velodrome in Marseille said Russian supporters went into England fans' areas of the ground after the final whistle.

The incident came after a third day of violence in the Mediterranean port city left as many as 20 England fans injured, with reportedly several seriously hurt in bloody clashes between rival fans.

Scores of Russian fans charged into a section full of rival supporters, throwing missiles, tearing down flags and fighting with anyone who remained in their way.

Thousands of England fans were forced to retreat, many climbing a high fence and pouring into the exit gangways, while a ring of stewards stood on the pitch watching events unfold while taking no action.

Groups of Russian fans also advanced from ground level up to the second tier of the vast 67,000-capacity Stade Velodrome before a handful of stewards eventually stepped in to form a ragged cordon.

Before the game French police used tear gas and water cannon to break up running battles in the Old Port area of the city.

Russia’s sports minister said the country’s football union will probably be fined by UEFA for the behavior of Russian fans.

"We will have a fine from UEFA, so I understand. We behaved incorrectly," Vitaly Mutko said, adding that Russian officials will investigate what happened and there were "many nuances".             

The incident raises serious questions about French security at a time when the country is on high alert after November's terrorist attacks on Paris.

Spectators reported seeing stewards in the ground at the end of the game, but no police officers.

Just before the end of the game white flares were lit in the Russian end, followed by a green rocket which went over England goalkeeper Joe Hart's goal. This was followed by a bang and then a red firework.

Speaking at a post-match conference, FA spokesman Mark Whittle said the day's events were regrettable.

"The FA is very disappointed about the terrible scenes of disorder and of course condemns such behaviour.

"It is now in the hands of the relevant authorities to identify those involved in trouble and deal with them appropriately and quickly.

"At this time the FA urges England supporters to act in a respectful manner and support England in the right way."

There are also reports of attacks on Northern Ireland and Polish football fans in Nice - where the two countries meet later today.

Police there say the trouble was started by French hooligans.

Gary McAllister, chairman of the Northern Ireland supporters' clubs, tweeted: "Local ultras attacked Polish and NI fans who were mixing well.