The French government called for a ban on the sale, consumption and transport of alcohol near venues and fan zones Sunday, following clashes between fans and the police in the southern port city of Marseille.
On Saturday night, a scuffle between English and Russian fans left over 30 people injured, reports said. This forced the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the governing body of football in Europe, to commence disciplinary proceedings against Russia but not England.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve reportedly said, “I have asked for all necessary measures to be taken to prohibit the sale, consumption and transport of alcoholic drinks in sensitive areas on match days and the day before, and on days when fan zones are open.”
The ban will include public areas, as well as shops and off-licences, he added. “The events which took place in Marseille ... are unacceptable. Unacceptable for the authorities, unacceptable for society, unacceptable for football lovers,” Cazeneuve said.
UEFA has warned that further violence would result in the banning of both the Russian and English teams. Charges were filed against Russia for allegedly setting off firecrackers, indulging in racist behavior and for crowd disturbances, reports said. A disciplinary meeting will be held on Tuesday to decide on sanctions against Russia.
Martin Glenn, the Football Association’s (FA) chief, issued a statement saying, “We understand the potential implications of our supporters’ actions and wholly accept that every effort needs to be made by The FA to positively urge them to act in a responsible and respectful way. Violent scenes like those witnessed over the weekend in Marseille have no place in football, nor society as a whole.”
The statement follows a letter sent to the FA by the UEFA regarding the fans’ actions. On Sunday evening when Germany was playing against Ukraine in the northern French city of Lille, more clashes between fans were reported.
Lens in northern France, where England’s next match will be held on Thursday, has already implemented the ban. The U.K. government has reportedly offered to send extra police over to help local security at the match.