Euro 2016: Alcohol ban and extra police ahead of England game

French authorities are restricting the sale of alcohol and drafting in 4,000 extra police in Lille ahead of England and Russia’s next Euro 2016 matches.

Shops selling alcohol will be closed until Friday, while some 350 bars will shut early on Wednesday and Thursday.

England and Russia fans are gathering in Lille, and the FA has expressed “serious concerns” about security after clashes between supporters last week.

Russia has been given a suspended disqualification from the tournament.

And six England fans were jailed following Russia and England’s draw in Marseille on Saturday.

Fans from the two teams are due to cross paths again as England supporters travel to Lille ahead of Thursday’s match against Wales – which is being held in nearby Lens – while Russia will play Slovakia in Lille itself on Wednesday.

Prefect of the northern region, Michel Lalande, said there would be a drinking ban in some parts of central Lille and at the stadium.

Shops selling alcohol would be closing in the city from 18:00 local time (17:00 BST) on Tuesday and will reopen at 06:00 (05:00 BST) on Friday, he said.

England fans are being discouraged from travelling without a ticket, and the authorities are asking fans if they can wait to travel on Thursday to watch the Wales game.

Those without tickets can watch the match in the city’s fan zone, where lower strength beer will be sold.

Mr Lalande also said no beer would be sold in green bottles as they can be used as ammunition, adding that anyone carrying out violence would be removed from the country.

‘Calm in Lille’

By James Reevell, BBC News, in Lille

Despite a few scuffles, the streets of Lille were calm on Thursday night, with a large, intimidating French police force mostly watching on as English and Welsh fans sang boisterously in bars.

Mostly it was their usual repertoire, but there were occasional anti-Russian chants.

As the bars closed early around midnight, the streets of the city emptied, with the few good-natured fans wandering around outnumbered by police.

Despite playing Slovakia on Wednesday, Russian fans were few in number. Those we spoke to insisted they were there simply to enjoy the football.

With a mid-afternoon kickoff, more Russian fans are expected to fill the city centre’s bars on Wednesday morning – which should provide a sterner test of Lille’s calm.

There have been reports of minor disturbances between rival fans in Lille on Tuesday evening.

Mobile phone footage posted on Twitter showed two sets of fans facing off outside a bar, with chairs strewn across the pavement on the Place de la Gare in central Lille.

A man in a suit is heard shouting at hooded and masked fans posturing towards the England and Wales supporters to go, outside Le Palais de la Biere bar next to the city’s Hotel Continental.

He attempts to set chairs and tables right again before police officers move in between the two groups of fans.

Russia has received a suspended disqualification from the tournament and been fined 150,000 euros (£119,000) over crowd trouble at the match against England in Marseille.

Uefa, the organisers of Euro 2016, said the punishment would be fully imposed if similar incidents happen at any of Russia’s remaining matches.

Home Secretary Theresa May described the disorder as “deeply disturbing” and said the UK was offering support with investigations and “post-incident analysis”.

England could also face expulsion by Uefa if there is any further violence.

But in a letter to Uefa, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke rejected the suggestion that England fans were at fault for scenes inside the Stade Velodrome following Saturday’s match with Russia.

And he said he had “serious concerns around the security arrangements” for Lille given that Russia was playing there on Wednesday.

England fans, particularly those without match tickets, had previously been advised to stay in Lille because Lens is so small, Mr Dyke explained.

Thousands of supporters are expected to follow Thursday’s match between Wales and England at fan zones in the Place Jean Jaures in Lens and also Lille, which is 24 miles (39km) away.

More than 35,000 ticket holders are due to watch the clash in the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

In other developments:

Some 35 people have been injured – four seriously, and most of them England fans – and a total of 20 people were arrested after three days of disorder in Marseille.

French prosecutors have said 150 Russian hooligans were behind the violence in the city’s Stade Velodrome on Saturday, after Russian fans appeared to rush at England supporters.

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