British, Russian soccer fans riot outside Euro16 match in France

British-Russian-soccer-fans-riot-outside-Euro16-match-in-France.  MARSEILLE, France,  British and Russian soccer fans rioted before and after a match in the Euro 2016 tournament in France on Saturday, leaving one British fan in serious condition.

British-Russian-soccer-fans-riot-outside-Euro16-match-in-France
An unidentified soccer fan confronts police outside a cafe in Marseille, France on Friday amid violence between British and Russian fans at the Euro 2016 tournament. French riot police were called in both before and after the match between the two countries on Saturday. Screen shot courtesy RT

The violence before and after the 1-1 draw between England and Russia marks the third consecutive day of problems surrounding the tournament in Marseille, France.

The BBC reports French riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a number of skirmishes outside the Stade Velodrome, the stadium where matches are being played, both before and after the event.

The British fan who was hospitalized was injured before the match began, the BBC reported. His name and status have not been released.

Inside the stadium, Russia scored an injury time equalizer after England dominated the match. The BBC reported fans of both nations, who were not separated in the stands, were mostly well-behaved until the shocking end to the match. Fireworks were shot off from a section of the crowd where Russian fans were seated and after the match ended, it appeared Russian fans attacked a section of British fans, causing a crush of people to jump a barrier to escape the scene.

ESPN reported a group of Russian fans behind the British goal advanced on British fans, overwhelming a small number of stadium stewards, throwing bottles, tearing down British flags and forcing fans to flee toward the exits.

Both sides have pointed the finger at the other as being the aggressors over the first three days of the tournament.

The Union of European Football Associations, or UEFA, which is overseeing the tournament, said it is investigating the incident and the Russian national team faces the possibility of sanctions for their fans’ conduct in the stands.

Outside the stadium, fans from both countries have been accused of starting trouble.

A British fan told ESPN he and a group of fellow Britons were attacked by drunk Russian and French fans without provocation.

The Russian government-controlled RT news agency posted video online of what it described as British fans rioting in the streets following match play on Friday. The video shows apparently drunk fans shouting, overrunning cafes, fighting and clashing with police. The raw footage does not make clear which country the rioters support.

Mark Whittle of the English Football Association condemned the violence and called on fans “to act in a respectful manner and support England the right way.”

The clashes come ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in Moscow.

By Eric DuVall

UPI NEWS