Russian fans, despite UEFA’s threat to disqualify the country from Euro 2016, have again launched fresh attacks on England and Wales fans in the centre of Lille, near the city’s train station.
French police were forced to use pepper spray as the Russian ‘Ultras’ squared up to England fans for the second time in just a number of hours.
Hundreds of England fans are staying in Lille ahead of the crucial qualifying match in Lens against Wales on Thursday. Punches and kicks were thrown in a mass brawl during the early hours of the morning as England fans left a nearby pub.
The brief outbreak of violence flared in Lille’s Grand Place after midnight when bars stopped serving alcohol. Many of the fans had been drinking solidly for over six hours.
One England fan was separated from his group, and then kicked and punched repeatedly by the violent Russian group.
Following the fight, Russian supporters mocked the English fans for ‘running away’ and celebrated their ‘victory’ despite being ‘only five against 20’.
Two Russian supporters have been held following the scuffle in Lille’s Grand Place. Four other Russian hooligans were arrested in Lille after being found with an arsenal of weapons.
Russian fans, who were described as “hyper violent”, first attacked England fans following the 1-1 draw at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday. Images showed Russian thugs chasing supporters inside the stadium.
Following the crowd disorder, Uefa warned both the Football Association and Russian Football Union that a repeat of Saturday’s violence could lead to both teams being expelled from the tournament. Russia was also fined €150,000 (£120,000).
Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko described the punishment as ‘excessive’ on the Russian fans, while the team’s striker Artem Dzyuba downplayed the role of the Russians saying England fans were ‘no angels’.
The Football Association (FA) has expressed serious concern about security in Lille and the potential for clashes between rival fans.
Michele Lalande, prefect of the northern region, announced there would be a drinking ban in parts of Lille and around the stadium. He also said no beer would be sold in bottles and warned those arrested for violence would be deported.
Downing Street has said extra British police are being sent to France ahead of England’s match against Wales on Thursday. The additional police being deployed are specially trained in dealing with public disorder and football hooliganism.