Monday, July 18, 2016


Attention appears to be shifting away from the “Beautiful Game” after violence flared up at game venues and cities hosting the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament in France, followed by sanctions laid down by the UEFA organizing committee and the resulting responses of governments whose participating countries were involved in the confrontations.

While French police step up measures to put a stop to increasing altercations between hostile supporters of competing football teams across three venue cities in the country, the governing body of the Union of European Football Associations has slapped the Russian Football Team – whose rabid fans are coming across as the most aggressive supporters in the large crowd of followers for 24 participating national teams – with a €150,000 ($168,000) fine, and a stern warning that any further uproarious behavior on the part of their fans will see them booted out of the tournament, as reported by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

This comes after a major clash between Russian supporters and their English counterparts during and after a match between their respective teams in Marseilles last Saturday June 11. The situation appears to be on the verge of deteriorating further when Russia lost 2-1 to Slovakia in Lille just this Wednesday June 15.

Already, 50 Russian fans have been deported from France according to the Daily Telegraph. England had also been given the same warning against their fans’ behavior, although no formal charges were pressed against their team.

Similar threats of disqualification are set to be leveled by UEFA at any other competing team whose supporters engage in prevocational circumstances that can lead to physical violence; although these incidents are limited only to the interiors of Euro 2016 venue stadiums as these places’ safety are all that UEFA are legally responsible for. Out-of- venue incidents are left to French authorities to handle, although for the most part they are more likely to flare up than within the stadiums.

Reactions back in Russia run the gamut, from the Kremlin calling on all Russians attending the tournament to follow the laws and regulations of their host country, to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blaming other countries’ football fans for maliciously provoking Russian citizens to riot and decrying what he describes as a general “Anti-Russian” atmosphere being pervaded throughout Euro 2016 that he warns is damaging France-Russia relations in the long run. To this end Minister Lavrov as called French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert this Wednesday to be notified of possible discriminatory acts against Russians following the European Cup in his country.

Trouble in minimizing acts of violence erupting during competition by both UEFA and French police have exposed negative issues and weaknesses towards the two organizations’ respective security measures set in place for the duration of the UEFA Euro 2016. To this end, UK Home Secretary Theresa May authorized the deployment of British officers to France to aid local authorities in identifying possible rabble-rousers and provocateurs.

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