Football

England in the clear, for now

Fans clash with French police but Uefa not taking action

European football's governing body Uefa said yesterday that it was planning no executive committee meeting in the wake of overnight fan violence on the streets of Lille.

Uefa's decision effectively means England are not under any threat of disqualification over their fans' behaviour.

Any decision to expel England for crowd disturbances outside the stadium would need to be taken by the executive committee.

At least 36 people were arrested and 16 taken to hospital on Wednesday after French police clashed with England football fans in the northern city of Lille, the regional police force said in a statement.

French riot police charged groups of rowdy, chanting English fans and used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse them on the eve of England's Euro 2016 game against Wales yesterday.

Authorities had flooded the city's streets with police earlier in the day and imposed strict alcohol bans to try to avoid a repeat of the violence that marred the England-Russia match in Marseille last Saturday.

While they appeared to have kept the two sets of fans apart, tension mounted in the early evening with police using pepper spray, tear gas and acoustic grenades to suppress fans near the central train station.

Just after midnight, English fans suddenly began chasing away locals celebrating France's victory over Albania.

Police moved swiftly to drive them away from the area in front of the station and one group was again pepper-sprayed at in a doorway.

DOG HANDLERS

Police dog handlers joined up with officers clad in riot gear to chase the England fans further up the street.

Last Sunday, Uefa's executive committee warned both England and Russia that it would "not hesitate" to impose sanctions, including disqualification, if there was a repeat of violent disturbances by their fans in Marseille the day before.

These sanctions would be in addition to anything imposed by Uefa's own disciplinary committee, which can only deal with incidents which take place inside stadiums.

- Wire Services.

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