The Euro 16 has been filled with drama on and off the pitch as fans have packed the stadiums in celebration of their national pride. Misconduct has occurred between supporters from all different countries as tensions rise and teams are eliminated from the competition.
Multiple countries have faced sanctions as violence has escalated, delaying games and causing injuries to fans.
One of the first large outbreaks occurred between England and Russia:
Rumble in Marseille
Fights broke out after the England and Russia match that left at least 35 people injured, only four in serious condition according to CNN’s coverage by Tim Hume. Eight arrests were made including citizens from Britain, Russia, and France.
Both teams were put on notice by UEFA for their roles in the conflict–if the behavior continues, both teams face expulsion from the tournament. Although UEFA is looking to ensure safety on stadium grounds, this is where there authority ends in the matter leaving the local police force to deal with violence that occurs out in the city.
Croatia Flares Up with the Lead
In an unexpected twist, Croatia fans lobbed flares onto the pitch as their team held the lead with only ten minutes left to play. A full blown division has occurred between Croatian soccer club supporters about the corruption that is plaguing the organization.
The Croatia head-coach wasn’t having any of it and labelled the flares an act of ‘sports terrorism’ in a post-match interview:
“The 95 percent of Croatian supporters are ashamed in front of Europe,” he said. “These are sports terrorists. This is maybe just a question about six to 10 individuals. I hope they can be identified and punished. I hope the Croatia FA is doing everything to prevent this, but it is impossible to avoid.”
Facing similar charges as Croatia, Turkey supporters lit flares off and ignited flags in the stands during there 3-nil loss to Spain. The danger involved lies not only in the crowded seated sections, but people being able to properly vacate without smoke inhalation concerns.
As football holds itself up as the world’s game the issue of violent outbreaks at major competitions and international fixtures becomes an ever increasing problem.
Expect UEFA responses to be swift and strict if supporters cannot be corralled.