England fans at risk in Russia – Police chief

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The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has warned that England supporters could face problems at the World Cup after more than 100 were arrested at the friendly win over Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday.

The NPCC has been working with Russian police ahead of the tournament to help them understand “how best to deal with England supporters” and persuade them that the majority are not troublemakers.

But speaking to the BBC, deputy chief constable Mark Roberts said: “When people behave as they did at the weekend, they put not only themselves at a greater risk but also other genuine supporters because it becomes harder for us to try and influence the policing styles.

“They [Russian authorities] have been engaging up until now in terms of understanding how best to deal with England supporters.

“When we’re trying to persuade them that the majority of fans don’t cause problems, scenes like that over the weekend really does make peoples’ lives harder.

“I am concerned that all the efforts we’ve made to try and help the Russian authorities understand the difficult dynamics of England supporters have gone to waste.”

Roberts said UK police would now “have to reassure” their Russian counterparts following the scenes in Amsterdam.

But he warned: “Countries look at how our supporters behave and think: ‘Why should we tolerate that?’

“If the host country finds that behaviour offensive, they will deal with it as they would their own people.

“I don’t think anyone would want to be serving time in a Russian prison labelled as an England football hooligan.”

Meanwhile, The Times reported that the FA is to reconsider the policy of playing friendly matches on Friday nights in European cities which attract large numbers of weekend “drinking tourists” or stag dos.

It said English football’s governing body would review the fixture list and was now unlikely to schedule Friday night games in destinations such as Dublin or Prague.

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