England and Russia risk being thrown out of of Euro 2016 if the fan violence that greeted their competition opener in Marseille continues, UEFA have warned.
Ugly scenes both before and during Saturday night’s Group B game in Marseille left a number of supporters injured, with one England fan in a critical condition in hospital.
And the bloody events have been deemed serious enough for European football’s governing body to speak out with a threat of disqualification, a move away from their usual protocol of not acting on incidents away from stadiums.
In a statement, UEFA’s executive committee said they: “will not hesitate to impose additional sanctions on the Football Association (FA) and Russian Football Union (RFU) including potential disqualification… should such violence occur again.”
The Russians were charged with ‘crowd disturbances, racist behaviour and setting off of fireworks’ on Sunday but England have now been issued with a strongly-worded warning, too.
The FA have also been told to inform England’s travelling fans of their responsibility to behave in France this summer.
Further flashpoints could come next week though, with England, Wales and Russia supporters are expected to all be in Lille ahead of the next round of Group B fixtures.
UEFA’s full statement reads: “The UEFA executive committee would like to express its disgust for the violent clashes which occurred in the city of Marseille.
“Such unacceptable behaviour by so-called supporters of the national teams of England and Russia has no place in football, a sport we must protect and defend.
“The UEFA executive committee has warned both football associations that – irrespective of any decisions taken by the independent disciplinary bodies relating to incidents inside the stadium – it will not hesitate to impose additional sanctions on the Football Association (FA) and the Russian Football Union (RFU), including the potential disqualification of their respective teams from the tournament, should such violence occur again.
“We urge both the FA and the RFU to appeal to their supporters to behave in a responsible and respectful manner.
“We would also like to publicly voice our support for the work of the French Authorities and security forces for their efforts to deliver a safe and secure tournament in challenging circumstances.”