Wayne Rooney and Roy Hodgson have sent a message to England fans after UEFA threatened the Three Lions with disqualification from the 2016 European Championship if the behaviour of fans doesn’t improve.
UEFA called the violent incidents which occurred in Marseille prior to and after England’s 1-1 draw with Russia on Saturday “unacceptable behaviour”, confirming that both nations would be disqualified if such violence happens again.
Yesterday, the FA’s chief executive Martin Glenn urged fans to “act in a responsible and respectful way”, but now Rooney and Hodgson, easily more recognisable and influential figures than Glenn, have appealed to fans in France.
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A French court sentenced two England supporters to jail in the wake of the ugly scenes that happened on Saturday.
Russia fans have been largely responsible for the attacks - they rushed England supporters upon full-time of the 1-1 draw and continued to fight in the streets of Marseille - but Rooney and Hodgson have called for England fans to cease getting involved.
“I’d like to thank the England fans for the great support inside the stadium against Russia,” Rooney said, per the FA’s website.
“Now, as we have a big game coming up against Wales, I'd like to ask the fans that, if they don't have a ticket, please don't travel. For the fans with tickets: be safe, be sensible and continue with your great support for the players."
Hodgson: I'm concerned about the threat
Hodgson added: “As England manager, I'm obviously very concerned about the threat which is now hanging over us of sanctions that could be imposed upon the England team.
"We've worked very hard to get here, and we really desperately want to stay in the competition. We appreciate your support at the matches of course, but I'm appealing to all of our fans to stay out of trouble and to try to make certain that these threats that are being issued are never carried out so we can attempt to do the best we can to stay in this competition by football means."
Lack of policing
The violence has left fans in hospital requiring surgery - one England fan is in a coma with severe brain injuries, according to the BBC - and the streets of France littered with beer bottles.
Russian ultras, carrying knives and flares and wearing gum shields, were allowed to run riot, with many England fans wondering where the police was.
One fan, Paul Atkinson, said, per the Mirror: “It was disgraceful, we got no protection at all. Where were the police? It was an unmitigated disaster.”
Another, Sam Blackwell, asked why Russians were allowed to bring flares into the Stade Velodrome.
“We were surprised how slack the searches were going in, they were almost non-existent. It was just a quick pat down and they let you through,” he said.
“If they were doing them properly how would the Russian fans have got fireworks and the flares in?”