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UEFA launches probe against Russian Football Union after violence in Marseille

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UEFA launches probe against Russian Football Union after violence in Marseille

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Amlan Majumdar

06/12/2016

UEFA has expressed 'utter disgust' over the violent clashes between the fans of Russia and England before and after the match between the two teams at Marseille. UEFA has begun disciplinary proceedings against the Russian Football Union, and they could face points deduction at the ongoing Euro 2016.

"UEFA expresses its utter disgust for the violent clashes that occurred in the city centre of Marseille, and its serious concern for the incidents at the end of the match inside Stade Velodrome. This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and has no place in football.

"Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Russian Football Union (RFU) for the following events occurring inside the stadium. A decision on the sanctions to be imposed will be made within the next few days, once the RFU has been able to submit written statements and evidence.

“UEFA acknowledges that there were segregation issues at Stade Velodrome and will implement corrective measures to strengthen the deployment of security personnel at stadiums, in close collaboration with local authorities,” read an official statement released by UEFA on Sunday.

Fans of both the teams rioted before the game in Marseille’s Old Port district and outside the Stade Vélodrome, in what was the third straight day of violence in the city. The police had to use tear gas and water cannons to stop the fights before the match. However, the vehemence did not stop there and the clashes resumed after Russia held England to a 1-1 draw on Saturday night.

Russian fans fired a flare gun towards the England section of the stands, and after the final whistle, they attacked the England fans causing widespread panic among the crowd.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has condemned these incidents, and has backed the UEFA for doing the right thing.

"As hosts of the future World Cup we need to preserve our image and people shouldn't spoil it. That's the worst thing," Vitaly Mutko told Skysports.

In a statement to the BBC, Vitaly Mutko said, "It's the right thing, there were flares, there was a flare gun, there had been clashes in the stands, it's necessary to sort all of this out. The fans were rooting greatly, but there are people who do not come for the football”.

An English fan depicted one of the incidents which took place before the match to Skysports, and blamed the Russian fans for ruining the game.

"As we got closer to the ground, I could see a row of Russian fans marching down the row towards the England fans. They had masks on and I could see it was going to kick off.

"Before I knew it, a bottle got smashed and tear gas went up in the air, and me and some friends got caught up in it. We had to make tracks to get out of there quickly.

"It was disappointing because the England fans were just there, it was a good atmosphere, not a hostile one at all, but then the Russia fans turned up and it ruined it just before the game," an English fan, Ben McDowell, told Skysports.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve also condemned the incident. He said, "The security forces can't be diverted from their public security mission by the reckless behaviour and deliberate pseudo-fans whose only motivation is to disrupt public order and whose interior minister condemns the unacceptable conduct”.

Skysports has also reported that the punishment for the Russian federation could be 'severe', and that UEFA could also hand out points deduction along with a substantial fine.

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