England fans in football riot

One dead, 70 injured, 40 arrested and Dublin game halted as hooligans hurl seats into crowd

English football was plunged into a fresh crisis yesterday when rioting fans forced the abandonment of a friendly match with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

The trouble erupted when Ireland took a 1-0 lead and sections of the English crowd in the Upper West tier ripped up seats and benches to hurl missiles at supporters below, injuring several people.

Hundreds of fans fled on to the pitch as police and stewards struggled to control the violence. At least 12 people were arrested. Some fans, including a young boy, were taken to hospital, others were given first- aid at the scene.

The referee took the teams off the pitch, but the hail of missiles intensified and, after 12 minutes it was announced that the match had been abandoned.

The 4,500 English fans were kept in the stadium while the rest of the crowd left, but then fresh violence broke out when riot police moved in to escort the England supporters from the ground. Police used truncheons as they came under attack, several people were injured and further arrests were made.

Politicians and sports authorities on both sides of the Irish sea swiftly condemned the "shameful" scenes at Lansdowne Road, which immediately raised doubts over England's role in international football and the European Championships which are due to be staged in England in 1996.

However, questions were being raised last night over the security precautions at the ground. The police intelligence unit in London that monitors football hooligans said that it had been in contact with the gardai before the match and had been expecting trouble from the England fans.

The England manager, Terry Venables, said: "It was terrible. I have not got words strong enough to describe how we feel about this. There could be repercussions."

His opposite number, the Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton, was furious: "I have seen a lot in football but nothing like this. It is a disaster for Irish football but I didn't want the game abandoned because what do you do with 2,000 English fans running around the town?

"The English fans were being bombarded by some of their own And they brought out the worst in some of ours."

Graham Kelly, chief executive of the Football Association, was asked what the repercussions might be for the European Championships. "I really can't answer that question at the moment, but it is a situation we will have to face. I can't believe the callous disregard for women and children," he said.

Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, described the events as "utterly disgraceful". The best antidote, he said, would be for those responsible to be brought speedily to justice "and dealt with very severely". But he refused to be drawn on whether the riot would prejudice England's staging of the 1996 European Championship.

And while he promised that any lessons would be learnt, he warned "it is extremely difficult to take preventative action when you have a number of hooligans determined to cause trouble in this way".

It was, he said, "not possible to give a guarantee that incidents like this will not occur". He added that he was sure there would be an inquiry.

Last night, questions were being raised over why the England fans were put in a tier above other sections of the crowd and why it took police so long to bring the trouble under control.

The National Criminal Intelligence Service in London, which monitors the activities of English football hooligans, said it had been aware some fans were planning to cause trouble.

In a statement, the NCIS said: "Our football intelligence unit has been in regular contact with the gardai in the weeks running up to this game. We have provided every assistance with intelligence and travel information.

"We were aware that disorder was planned to happen within the football ground. Following the disorder we will be co-operating with the gardai to offer them any and every assistance."

Even before the violence erupted last night, the atmosphere in those parts of the ground occupied by England fans had been ugly.

Irish supporters claimed they had been taunted by the visitors before the start of the game. One said: "When they started singing God Save The Queen, the English started jeering at us and some were shouting `IRA bastards'."

Bernard Allen, the Irish Sports Minister, questionned how it had been possible for so many English troublemakers to obtain tickets, given that all the visitors' ticket sales had been controlled by official English supporters' clubs.

Sean Connolly, general secretary of the Football Association of Ireland, said it "would now look seriously at banning all English fans from future games."

The former Irish international and Wimbledon manager, Joe Kinnear, widely tipped as a successor to Jack Charlton as Irish manager, said the problems had "without a shadow of a doubt" been exacerbated by the Irish authorities' decision to put the English suporters on an upper tier.

The violence immediately put England's future in international football back in the spotlight. There will almost certainly be an inquiry by the international governing body UEFA.

Further reports, page 40

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003