England fans condemned for ‘appalling’ behaviour in Amsterdam after more than 100 supporters arrested

Friday's 1-0 victory over the Netherlands has been overshadowed by the disgraceful scenes in Amsterdam after the match with the most arrests made at an England match for ‘several years’

Jack de Menezes
Saturday 24 March 2018 16:57 GMT
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England fans who were involved in disgraceful clashes with Dutch police following the 1-0 victory over the Netherlands on Friday have been condemned by the head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council [NPCC], following a night of violence that saw more than 100 people arrested.

A statement from the Dutch Police confirmed that most of the clashes took place in the red light district of Amsterdam after the match, with 90 England supporters arrested to add to the 25 people that were detained on Thursday night.

“Some were arrested because they were throwing beer bottles in the direction of officers,” a statement read.

“When we arrested that group it became quiet in the red light district. There were still hundreds of English people staying but they were not causing any problems.”

The violent clashes and rowdy behaviour have been labelled “appalling” by the NPCC, and the Football Association is likely to ban any of the 5,234 official England Supporters Club ticket holders that travelled to the Netherlands for the game if they are found to have been involved.

A number of violent clashes between England fans and Dutch Police took place in Amsterdam

“The behaviour of a large number of England supporters was appalling,” said deputy chief constable Mark Roberts. “Any attempts to downplay it are wide of the mark.

“The sad fact is that the drunken mob’s behaviour reinforces the negative stereotype of England supporters, and will impact on the treatment all fans can expect when they follow the team abroad.”

England supporters gather in Amsterdam ahead of the friendly with the Netherlands

Roberts added: “Last night resulted in the largest number of arrests for a single game we have seen for several years and, unfortunately, it follows a worrying trend observed at recent fixtures.”

The NPCC also said that it had “significant” concerns about the fixture taking place on a Friday night, which would have heightened the potential for trouble after thousands of England fans spent the day drinking in the Dutch capital, and revealed that it had not been contacted to discuss the scheduling of the match.

The Football Supporters’ Federation’s chief executive, Kevin Miles, said that there is “no defence of the atrocious anti-social behaviour by a minority of English fans”, but also added that he believed the main issue was “a significant number, particularly of younger people, who had little interest in the football, and no intention of going to the game”.

Miles told the BBC: “England fans have worked hard over the last decade or so to improve their reputation and disorder has become a rarity.

“It is not in the interests of the regular England followers for the anti-social behaviour to creep back in as it will inevitably impact on how we are received and treated by host police forces elsewhere.”

The incident is the latest in a line of ugly incidents involving England supporters that continues to taint the image of the national team. At the 2016 European Championship, a number of mass brawls broke out between English fans, French police and Russian hooligans – some who were even carrying gum shields and mixed martial arts gloves.

In March 2017, a number of England supporters were condemned for singing the offensive “10 German Bombers” song inside the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, with the FA issuing banning orders to some of those involved after carrying out a full investigation.

But despite the threat of lifetime bans from all England matches, the behaviour from some of those in Amsterdam will only impact the country’s reputation even further, with one social media user tweeting that there were chants “about Germans, the IRA, Muslims and what they’re going to do in Russia for the World Cup”.

“Dutch riot police trying to tackle the England fans tonight,” Rob Davies wrote on Twitter. “They’ve been chanting about Germans, the IRA, Muslims, and what they’re going to do in Russia for the World Cup. There’s possibly been arrests too. Loads of bikes thrown into canals... #Amsterdam.”

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