EURO 2016


Crowd violence in France sparks Euro 2016 fears

Serious questions have been raised about France's ability to safely stage the 2016 UEFA European Championships after crowd trouble during a match at one of the host venues on the weekend.

Crowd violence in France sparks Euro 2016 fears
The return of Lyon's Mathieu Valbuena to face his former club had already made for a charged atmosphere before sections of the crowd turned violent. Photo: AFP

French sports minister Thierry Braillard on Monday called for tougher controls as violence marred Ligue 1 action in France at the weekend just months ahead of Euro 2016.

The clash between Marseille and Lyon in the Velodrome Stadium on Sunday night was restarted after a 20-minute stoppage caused by missile-throwing fans.

There were also incidents during Saturday's Ligue 1 match between Bastia and Nice in Corsica as Paris Saint-Germain's fans caused trouble in the streets of Reims after a 1-1 draw.

Months ahead of the kickoff of Euro 2016 in France on June 10, an emergency meeting has been called by the French Professional Football League (LFP) in their Paris headquarters on Monday to assess the situation.

“We are after all months from a tremendous event which is the organisation of the European football championship and I really call for everyone to assess what happened,” Braillard told French radio RTL.

The return of Lyon's Mathieu Valbuena to face his former club had already made for a charged atmosphere in the southern port city. Lyon were leading 1-0 when play was interrupted as objects, including bottles and cups, rained down from the stands.

The game was restarted after a 20-minute stoppage and finished in a 1-1 draw.

“This is unacceptable and I think we really need to have much firmer controls,” said Braillard.

“Marseille is a footballing city. The Marseille public is known to be a great public. I think there are security measures that must be respected and we can't see glass bottles like that in the stands.

“Where are we going? Imagine that a bottle had struck a player! What situation would we be in today? It's unacceptable and I think that we really need to tighten up controls.”

In addition to the club facing a hefty fine, Marseille president Vincent Labrune, could also be punished for his comments blaming the “incidents” on biased referring.

“There was a great stadium, a great atmosphere. And there was unfortunately the facts of the game which led to one or two incidents it's true,” said Labrune.

“We had a remarkable refereeing quartet, they didn't do it on purpose but from what I saw it was always, always in the same direction,” he added.

The atmosphere was further fueled by an ongoing feud between the club presidents with Lyon boss Jean-Michel Aulas criticising his Marseille counterpart.

“The words of Vincent Labrune are irresponsible, for me he is a clown, and I don't think he has a future in football.”

In Bastia, local authorities had once again banned Nice fans from attending the game at the Furiani Stadium because of multiple incidents over the years between the two clubs.

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Fights, riots and smoke bombs mar Swedish football derby

Sunday’s football derby between Stockholm area clubs AIK and Hammarby devolved into minor chaos, according to police.

Fights, riots and smoke bombs mar Swedish football derby
AIK fans light flares during Sunday's match. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT
The restaurant area surrounding Friends Arena saw at least one violent attack, three mini-riots and a number of smoke bomb attacks. 
Following the match in Solna, which AIK won 2-0, one fan was severely beaten in an attack that left him unconscious. According to the police report, the incident occurred outside of a restaurant in the Råsunda area and the male victim had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. The victim is in his mid-40s and suffered “serious injuries”, police said. 
Police also responded to reports that unruly fans threw smoke bombs into one or more restaurants, and officers additionally had to contend with “three violent riots and numerous fights”. Some football fans also reportedly threw rocks at the police. 
The police report said that two people were arrested on riot charges, but no arrests had been made for the violent attack on the 40-something male victim or an unspecified separate attack that caused another victim to be transported to hospital. 
Violence and riots are not uncommon at Swedish football matches, especially when rivals like AIK and Hammarby face off. An August 2017 match between AIK and Djurgården, another bitter Stockholm area rival, was marred by violent clashes before the action even got underway and ultimately ended with 171 people being held in temporary police custody. 
In another incident, an October 2016 derby between Djurgården and Hammarby was suspended and six people were arrested for rioting after supporters threw flares and projectiles at security personnel then climbed the barricades. The referee removed players from the pitch and suspended the game for almost 30 minutes while police worked to end the confrontation.
Scuffles even broke out between supporters of the same teams during an U21 match earlier that year. A month later, Sweden legend Henrik Larsson and his son were targeted by angry fans following a Helsingborg match, after which Zlatan Ibrahimovic recommended violent fans should “step inside an Octagon cage and settle it there” instead.
In 2014, football violence hit a shocking new level when a 44-year-old male Djurgården fan died from head injuries he suffered during a mass brawl between Djurgården and Helsingborgs IF. Hooligans have also attacked players and referees on the pitch, caused fires to break out in the stands and turned their ire on police.
In an effort to try to cut down on the problems the Swedish government has brought in a ban on wearing masks at stadiums.