Alcohol sales banned in Lens for England's deciding match

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The Independent Online
A BAN on alcohol sales in Lens was announced by the local prefect yesterday as England fans began streaming into the World Cup town ahead of tomorrow's crucial match.

The move was announced amid fears that German thugs who left a French policeman in a coma on Sunday were planning to confront England supporters.

The 24-hour alcohol ban, similar to the one enforced earlier this week when England were in Toulouse, will come into force at 8am local time tomorrow. It also prohibits people drinking alcohol in the street.

At least 20,000 England fans are expected to pour into the small northern French town for the match against Colombia.

Daniel Cadoux, the prefect for the Lens region, said 1,200 uniformed and 100 plain-clothes officers would be deployed for the match. M Cadoux said French and British police would work together with Kent police warning of the departure from Channel ports of presumed hooligans.

At the request of French authorities, more police "spotters" are being sent from Britain to Lens to identify known hooligans before the match. German authorities said that they had stepped up checks of French-bound motorists by boosting their border police force.

Daniel Nivel, remains gravely ill in hospital after being attacked during rioting by the Germans on Sunday. Police, newspapers and TV stations in Germany have launched collections for Mr Nivel's family.

German politicians vowed yesterday to clamp down on hooligans in the wake of the violence in France, but fell short of introducing new measures.

Meanwhile, a foreign-based businessman yesterday placed what is believed to be the biggest bet in the history of British bookmaking.

He put down pounds 200,000, at odds of 4-5, on England beating Colombia in their clash on Friday. Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill, said: "We are not aware of any larger bet ever struck with a British bookmaker on any event.

"It is certainly a huge vote of confidence for Glenn Hoddle. The World Cup is now well on target to produce a record betting turnover of pounds 100m, making it the biggest betting event of all time."

Any viewers who put money on the France versus Denmark match yesterday would have been in for a shock. The BBC was bombarded with complaints when television chiefs made a last-minute decision not to show the match.

Viewers tuning in were informed that the BBC was sticking with Tim Henman's second-round Wimbledon clash and would turn to the football 50 minutes later than scheduled. Henman was one set up at the time and 2-2 in the second set in his match with the South African David Nainkin on the Centre Court.

World Cup, pages 28-32