England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney have issued a video statement to plead with fans to behave in France in an effort to avoid the threat of Euro 2016 disqualification issued by Uefa following events during and after their 1-1 draw with Russia on Saturday.
England’s opening Group B encounter was marred by violent clashes in Marseille in the lead up to the match, with three days’ of violence leading to 19 English fans being admitted to hospital and six British citizens arrested.
Russian supporters charged at England fans after breaking through the inadequate segregation barrier at the Stade Velodrome towards the end of Saturday’s fixture, leading to Uefa launching an investigation against the Russian Football Union [RFU] for “crowd disturbances, setting off of fireworks and throwing of missiles”.
However, Uefa issued a statement on Sunday to confirm that both Russia and England could face further action and possible Euro 2016 expulsion if they are involved in similar incidents during the remainder of the tournament, and both Hodgson and Rooney have pleaded with fans not to engage in any behaviour that could result in the threat being carried out, with the striker insisting that if fans do not have matchday tickets, then they should not travel to the stadium at all.
“I’d like to thank the England fans for the great support inside the stadium against Russia, and now we have a big game coming up against Wales,” Rooney said.
“I’d like to ask the fans please if you don’t have a ticket, don’t travel, and for the fans with tickets be safe, be sensible, and continue with your great support for the players.”
Hodgson added: “As England manager I am obviously very concerned about the threat that is now hanging over us and the sanctions that could possibly be imposed upon the England team.”
“We worked very hard to get here and we really desperately want to stay in the competition, and I’m appealing therefore to all of our fans and we appreciate all of your support at the matches of course, but I’m appealing to you to stay out of trouble and to try and make certain that these threats that are being issued are never carried out and we will be able to attempt to do the best we can to stay in this competition by football means.”
England face Wales in Lens on Thursday where an alcohol ban has already been implemented across the city. However, with England fans already advised to go to Lille – where Russia play Slovakia the day before – ahead of the match to enjoy the atmosphere, fears have already been raised over further clashes between the two sets of fans.
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