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Euro 2016: British football fans 'taunt begging children' ahead of England vs Wales in Lille

Fans in Lille have been accused of 'pretending to give money' to children before throwing it on the floor

Jack de Menezes
Thursday 16 June 2016 10:40 BST
British fans throw money near group of children.mp4

British football fans in Lille have been caught on video appearing to taunt begging children by teasing them and throwing money on the floor, ahead of the Euro 2016 match between England and Wales in nearby Lens.

The two countries meet in their second Group B fixture at the European Championship, but the tournament has so far been overshadowed by violent clashes between English and Russian supporters as well as with French locals and police.

Both the Football Association [FA] and the Football Association of Wales [FAW] have urged fans without tickets not to travel to Lille or Lens in a bid to reduce the chance of more violent meetings with Russian fans.

However, a large number of British fans have already gathered in Lille from Tuesday, despite French authorities imposing a public drinking ban that restricts the volume of alcohol allowed to be sold by supermarkets and shops and outlaws drinking in the streets of the two cities.

A video recorded by TASS reporter Max Allanazarov not only displays British fans drinking outside a restaurant in Lille – where Russia play Slovakia on Wednesday – but also appears to show some of them throwing coins on the floor by a group of children.

A number of coins can be seen and heard landing around the children, while some of the supporters – who had British accents – are heard to tease the children before throwing the money.

One eye witness told The Telegraph: "There were eight or nine English who were laughing and joking at these poor youngsters - pretending to give them money and then throwing coins at them.

"These kids must have been no more than eight or nine. It was pretty bad taste."

It has not been confirmed if the fans are English or not.

Trouble first started in Marseille last Thursday when English fans were attacked by a group of French local youths, with bottles being thrown at a large section of England supporters outside three pubs in the old port area of Marseille.

The conflict continued on Friday when English fans were identified as the provocateurs of clashes with excessive drinking leading to conflicts between them and French police, with tear gas deployed by authorities for the second consecutive day to try and regain order.

The trouble came to a head on Saturday when a group of over 300 young Russians attacked English supporters, having arrived in Marseille equipped with gum shields and mixed martial arts gloves in a clear demonstration that the assaults were planned. 35 people were taken to hospital – most of them English – with 20 people arrested by French police during the violent clashes. Six British citizens have been jailed for their part in the violence for between one and three months. A 16-year-old British boy was also prosecuted for throwing a bottle at police, and had his Euro 2016 tickets confiscated, police have confirmed.

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