July 16th, 2024

Riot police in Germany intervene to stem fan clashes ahead of England versus Serbia soccer match

By The Associated Press on June 16, 2024.

England soccer fans cheer in front of police ahead the Group C match between Serbia and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) – Police rushed to separate brawling soccer fans ahead of Sunday’s match between England and Serbia at the European Championships soccer tournament in Germany.

Social media footage showed men throwing chairs at each other outside a restaurant festooned with Serbian flags in the western city of Gelsenkirchen. One group beat a hasty retreat as riot police arrived and wrestled at least one man to the ground.

A Serbian fan told The Associated Press that a group of people had thrown glasses and stones at the area outside a downtown bar where he and others were sitting together drinking beer.

“There was a clash and we are fine. So that’s it, we are going to the game, we hope we will win. This is about football,” said the man, who identified himself only as Vladimir and said he was from the Serbian capital Belgrade.

It was not immediately clear whether England fans were involved in the clash or if anyone was injured. Police could not be immediately reached for comment.

Reporters who arrived shortly after the incident found the street littered with broken glass and tables as several dozen police officers stood by.

The match on Sunday evening between England and Serbia has been tagged high risk by police over concerns over potential fan violence. Both sets of supporters have a reputation for causing trouble before and during matches.

About 20,000 England fans and 10,000 from Serbia were expected to converge on the city for the game. Only low-alcohol beer is being served in the Gelsenkirchen stadium in an attempt to reduce the potential for problems.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

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