Parliament & politics: World Cup violence: New crackdown on hooligans

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The Independent Online
A SHARP increase in the number of football thugs expelled from France is expected before tomorrow's crunch match between England and Colombia.

At the request of the French authorities, more police "spotters" are being sent from Britain to the north-eastern town of Lens to help identify more known hooligans before the match which will determine whether England go through to the next round.

The Home Office said last night that there would be a "significant" increase in the number of British police in plain-clothes mixing with the fans before the game.

The French this week passed emergency laws to allow them to deport known troublemakers who had committed no crimes. The deportations began with four potential football hooligans, identified by British spotters. "They travel around with the fans. They know the hooligans, and the hooligans know them, so they are a deterrent but the French brought in emergency powers to expel known offenders," a Home Office spokesman said. "It will certainly increase our potential to do that."

France is also refusing to allow into the country any hooligans identified at ports of entry on the grounds that they "represent a threat to public order".