German jails cleared in preparation for England football fans

Click to follow
The Independent Online

German authorities have begun clearing Munich jails in preparation for the arrival of thousands of England fans for Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifying game.

German authorities have begun clearing Munich jails in preparation for the arrival of thousands of England fans for Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifying game.

Despite a British clampdown on fans with violent pasts, Germany is taking no chances with security precautions. Police and security guards have had leave cancelled and convicts have been moved from the city's jails. The German security operation is likely to be the biggest in Bavaria since the 1972 Munich Olympics.

British police fear that up to 5,000 England fans will travel to Germany without tickets for the game at the Olympic Stadium.

At stake in the "grudge match" is England's place in the 2002 World Cup.

About 6,500 England fans have tickets for the match. But the National Criminal Intelligence Service, in charge of tackling hooliganism, fears a total of 12,000 fans will head for Munich in the next two days. Plain-clothes British police will travel with them. They will point out known troublemakers to their German colleagues.

England will be hoping to avenge Germany's victory in the last match at Wembley in Saturday's game – regarded as a "high risk" fixture.

If England are defeated, it could provoke thousands of possibly drunken fans to go on the rampage.

In preparation for the match, a record 537 banning orders have been made, aimed at preventing English hooligans travelling. Most have been ordered to hand in their passports.

Under the aegis of "Operation Octane", further banning orders may be served on other potentially unruly fans today.

Ministers want to try to prevent a repeat of the English hooliganism which marred the Euro 2000 tournament in Holland and Belgium.

In Germany, police officials suspect that German and England hooligans will converge on the city centre before of the game and Munich police say that their biggest concern is the conduct of German fans. They have ordered 40 of Germany's most violent soccer fans to report to their police station and stay away from the city

Officers are likely to approach British fans with the cautious but friendly approach, which has shown reasonable results in the past.

Comments