Euro 2016: France to expel Russia fans after violence
Group of 29 fans “considered a risk” taken to a border holding facility after violence targeting rival fans.
A group of Russian football supporters have been detained in France prior to their deportation because authorities fear they will cause trouble at Euro 2016 matches.
French officials were checking the identities of 29 supporters at a hotel in Mandelieu-La Napoule near Marseille, and authorities have already decided to take some to a holding centre at the border, local authorities told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.
French police are trying to establish if any of the Russians are on a list of supporters “considered a risk”, said Francois-Xavier Lauch, a local official in the Alpes-Maritimes area.
It is believed the Russian supporters intended to travel to the northern city of Lille, where Russia play Slovakia on Wednesday.
Euro 2016: English and Russian fans clash in Marseille
The checks come after the English Football Association expressed concern that France was not doing enough to crack down on Russian hooligans following the mass fighting between English and Russian supporters in Marseille on Saturday.
UEFA has handed the Russian team a suspended disqualification until the end of the tournament, which could become a full disqualification should the scenes at Saturday’s match be repeated.
Russia was also charged over fan racism and fireworks being set off during the game and was fined $169,000 by UEFA
French prosecutors have said 150 Russian supporters who were “extremely well-prepared” and “extremely violent” evaded arrest in Marseille.
UEFA acknowledged that segregation problems at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome contributed to Russian fans attacking their English rivals after the 1-1 draw.
Authorities are concerned that Russian and English fans will come into contact again in Lille, because England play Wales in nearby Lens on Thursday.
More than 2,400 security officials will be deployed in Lens as the town prepares for an anticipated influx of 40,000 to 50,000 England and Wales fans for Thursday’s game.
“We will have a strong police presence with more than 1,200 police officers present in Lens and you can add 1,200 more with the private security that will be mobilised that day,” said regional administration head Fabienne Buccio.
“We have strengthened the safety systems on the inside of the [Lens] stadium,” said Buccio.
“They will be present in the stands ready to intervene quickly in the stadium if there are clashes between supporters. There will be reinforced procedures outside the stadium. The town will be in lockdown by the police.”
Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be in place in parts of the region and on ferries from England.