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Topical Questions

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 2016.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Secretary of State for the Home Department 12:00 am, 13th June 2016

The violence in Marseilles surrounding England’s match against Russia was deeply disturbing. Seven English fans are still in hospital, two with very severe injuries, and our thoughts are with them. The French authorities had to deal with trouble involving England supporters on Thursday, Friday and Saturday around the city, and there were alarming clashes inside the stadium at the end of the match. The French and UEFA will rightly be asking themselves searching questions about how the segregation of fans within the Vélodrome stadium broke down. There will be lessons to be learned surrounding the wider policing operation. I am in no doubt that co-ordinated groups of Russian supporters bear a heavy responsibility for instigating violence.

We must also ensure, however, that we have our own house in order. Some among the England contingent in Marseilles behaved inexcusably. Anyone who has travelled to France to cause trouble has let down their nation and does a disservice to all genuine England fans. In co-operation with the French Government, we are going to do all we can to ensure that such scenes are not repeated. I have spoken to the Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve. Plans are in place to ensure that there are more British police spotters in Lens for the match between England and Wales. We have prevented nearly 1,400 people with a history of football-related violence from travelling, and an extension of the ban on alcohol sales around key matches announced yesterday is a positive step. Above all, I appeal to the English and Welsh fans travelling to Lens this Thursday. UEFA has made it clear that the penalties for bad behaviour for individuals and for the teams they support will be severe. I have every confidence that the fans will respond in the right spirit and we can all get back to enjoying the tournament.