Russians ready for 'ultra-violent' action involved in Euro 2016 clashes

Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:49pm EDT
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By Jean-Francois Rosnoblet

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Russian hooligans prepared for "ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action" were involved in the worst of the fighting that hit Marseille at the start of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, the French city's chief prosecutor said on Monday.

An Englishman in his 50s remained in a critical condition in hospital after he was assaulted, one of 35 people injured during three days of fighting involving Russian, English and French fans in Marseille's Vieux Port (Old Port).

European soccer's governing body, UEFA, said it was "disgusted" by melees inside and outside the stadium in Marseille - where the English and Russian sides played on Saturday - and has threatened to expel both teams from the championship if the violence persists.

"There were 150 Russian supporters who in reality were hooligans," Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told a news conference. "These people were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action."

Scenes of rival fans wielding metal bars and hurling beer bottles in street clashes in Marseille, as well as incidents in Nice, Lille and Paris, underscore the challenge soccer federations in Europe face in stamping out hooliganism.

Further along the Mediterranean coast from Marseille, Nice's prosecutor said violence there involving Northern Irish fans on Saturday night was instigated by remnants of the now-disbanded French fan group known as the Nice Brigade that had ties with far-right circles.

England fans have said they were ambushed by squads of Russian assailants in at least one incident, though the Marseille prosecutor made clear that England supporters were responsible for some of the skirmishes in Marseille.


Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Marseille prosecutor's press conference - Marseille, France - 13/6/16 - French prosecutor of Marseille Brice Robin speaks during a news conference following the fan violence as part of the UEFA 2016 European Championship in Marseille.  REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier