Belgian police criticised by fans

Click to follow

Leaders of official English football fans today condemned the get-tough policy by Belgium police, comparing it unfavourable with their Dutch colleagues' easy-going but successful approach.

Leaders of official English football fans today condemned the get-tough policy by Belgium police, comparing it unfavourable with their Dutch colleagues' easy-going but successful approach.

They say the rounding-up of hundreds of people after England's victory over Germany was done at random, with little regard to what, if anything, they had done.

Around 450 supporters, most of them English, were taken in by police from the streets of Charleroi as England recorded their historic 1-0 victory over their arch rivals.

Some 150 were taken into preventative detention before the match after fighting flared earlier between English and German supporters - then another 300 were detained while the match was going on, some for matters as simple as not having a match ticket.

Today none remained at the Gendarmerie. It was believed they were all in the process of being deported.

Kevin Miles, co-ordinator of the Football Supporters' Association fans' embassies at the tournament, said there was a sharp contrast with the policing surrounding England's first match against Portugal in Eindhoven, Holland.

He said the Dutch police had maintained a high profile, low friction approach which worked extremely well and brought out the best in the English fans - but in Charleroi the Belgians were invisible until it was too late, and then heavy-handed and indiscriminate when trouble began.

He said: "There can be few methods of policing less precise than firing tear gas into a crowded pub and arresting everyone who emerges."

"It is clear that dozens, if not hundreds, of entirely innocent English supporters have been arrested and even deported merely because of where they were."

Comments