Media captionFrench police used tear gas to bring the trouble under control in Marseille on Friday morning

One England football fan and one local man have been arrested after police used tear gas to break up trouble in Marseille ahead of Euro 2016.

Earlier reports had said two England fans were arrested, but this was later clarified by French police.

Ch Supt Steve Neill, a British policeman in Marseille, said the “confrontation” had been between local youths and some England fans.

Police said Thursday night’s incident had been dealt with quickly.

The clash with locals took place outside a pub in the Old Port district at about midnight.

Four French policemen had been lightly injured as they moved in on England fans, the news website France Bleu reported. Many of the fans had been drunk, it said.

After the tear gas was released, the police restored calm to the area at about 02:30 local time.

There had been no damage to local property, they said.

‘Small minority’

Mr Neill, who is in charge of England fan security, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “About midnight last night there was confrontation between a group of local youths and some England supporters.

“Local police moved in very quickly and utilised some tear gas to disperse the local youths and close the pub.

“The use of tear gas seems quite dramatic to us from England and the United Kingdom because we are not used to seeing it – but in mainland Europe it is a regular tactic and they restored order fairly quickly.”

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for football policing, said England supporters had been in Marseille on Thursday “without issue” before a group of approximately 70 local youths had approached the pub where England fans had congregated.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Police carrying riot shields moved in to separate clashing groups

Footage of the incident showed men hurling chairs, a fist fight outside a fast-food restaurant and chanting England fans surrounded by police officers with dogs.

Ambulances were seen arriving after police carrying riot shields moved in to separate the crowd and tear gas was used to clear the area.

“We need to keep it in context – there are thousands of England supporters who will come here and have a fantastic time,” Mr Neill said.

“There is a small minority who drink too much and get involved in some anti-social behaviour.”

Supporters have travelled to Marseille ahead of England’s game with Russia on Saturday.


Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation, which runs the fans embassy in Marseille, said: “It’s the police’s job to prevent a confrontation and they used French methods to do so, which we’re not particularly used to.

“They used tear gas, which is a little bit indiscriminate for my liking, but it did the job and the problems were over.”

Tournament organisers Uefa said it “regrets the skirmishes that occurred in Marseille”.

It said: “We are confident that the safety of travelling fans will be ensured by the local authorities which are responsible for order in the city.

“We make an appeal to all fans to behave respectfully throughout the tournament.”

English football’s governing body the FA said it was “really disappointed by the scenes of disorder in Marseille” and that it condemned such behaviour.

“It is in the hands of the authorities to identify those involved and deal with them appropriately,” it said.

“The FA urges supporters who are travelling to Marseille to act in a respectful manner and enjoy the match against Russia.”

Are you a fan in France for Euro 2016? What is your view of the brawl? And what do you make of policing arrangements?

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Jun 102016

Euro 2016 starts at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday and ends at the same venue with the final on 10 July.

Twenty-four teams will contest the tournament, including hosts France, holders Spain and world champions Germany.

But who will get their hands on the Henri Delaunay Trophy this time, and how will home hopes England, Northern Ireland and Wales, plus the Republic of Ireland, get on?

Twenty BBC Sport TV and radio presenters and pundits predict what will happen during the next four weeks.

You can make your own predictions and take on your friends and other fans using the BBC’s Euros Predictor.

Who will win Euro 2016?

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BBC pundits pick their Euro 2016 winners

Gary Lineker: France have to be the favourites because they have got so many really top-quality players, plus home advantage obviously. I fancy them quite strongly but after that you have Spain and Germany who will also be contenders.

Spain’s league is so strong – you only have to look at how many teams they got to the latter stages of the Champions League – and although Germany have not been brilliant since they won the World Cup, they do tend to turn it on for tournaments.

Thierry Henry: The only thing Germany are missing is a number nine. If they had the strikers they used to have then they would destroy teams, but I saw a lot of their games in qualifying and they could not finish.

I think France will do it, not because of the individuals we have but because we are finally again a good team.

Alan Shearer: When you look at some of the players France have then they have to be favourites. Plus I was here in 1998 when they gathered that momentum on the way to winning the World Cup and once the crowd gets behind them, they will be difficult to stop.

Rio Ferdinand: France have got some big-match winners in Antoine Griezmann and Anthony Martial, who is so explosive when he runs at defenders. He is already the player Manchester United look to to make things happen and I am expecting big things from him in France.

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Euro 2016: Who are the players to watch?

Jens Lehmann: France will have to deal with the pressure, I am not sure whether they can. In the same way, the German players know they are expected to win but they like that – the pressure makes them play better.

Germany love being favourites and they have set the target themselves by saying that winning Euro 2016 is just a step on the way to winning the World Cup again in 2018.

Chris Waddle: I’m backing Spain but the other team I would put up there is Belgium. They have got the squad, but can they find the right 11? They underachieved at the World Cup but they would love to cross the border, walk into France and win it.

Danny Murphy: Belgium should be looking to do much more than they did in Brazil two years ago, when they reached the quarter-finals, but it is hard to look further than France.

The only issue with them is that Olivier Giroud is up front because Karim Benzema was not considered for selection. That weakens their attack but they are powerful in midfield and will have Martial and Griezmann playing off Giroud.

Martin Keown: I do like France and also Belgium, who were the youngest qualifiers. But this tournament comes off the back of watching Leicester win the Premier League so now I feel that anything is possible in football.

Chris Brunt: Germany are the team to beat but, if I had to put a pound on it, I would have to put it on Northern Ireland. I would look stupid if we won it and I hadn’t backed us.

How far will England go?

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MOTD pundits on England’s chances at Euro 2016

Alan Shearer: I am being optimistic but I hope we can get to a semi-final. I am looking forward to the tournament and we have some exciting young players coming through but my concern would be defensively – any team that wins the tournament have to be solid at the back, and I am not sure England have got the players to do that.

Gary Lineker: It is a bit early for us. We have loads of potential but it is a hell of a long shot to think we can win it. It is a chance to nurture the squad and basically say this is all about preparation for the future.

Rio Ferdinand: We should be demanding an improvement from the World Cup, where England failed to get out of the group stage. But although we have to be competitive we do not have to reach a quarter-final or a semi-final for this tournament to be seen as a success. I want us to finish it and think ‘there is hope’ – that would be a step forward.

Chris Waddle: To the quarter-finals, if I am honest. They will come up against the big boys then and it will be very hard to go any further. But the pressure is on from the start because England are the favourites in their group and the other teams will see them as a scalp even if they just get a draw.

Jermaine Jenas: I think England can do something. I don’t think we will win it but this team can do something special and be a team we can be proud of again. I would be delighted if we got to the semi-final.

Danny Murphy: The quarter-finals are a must to call it a success. We have to get to that level with the players we have got, otherwise we have failed.

Can Northern Ireland spring a surprise?

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Euro 2016: What are Northern Ireland’s chances in France?

Chris Brunt: It was important that we kept our 12-game unbeaten run going into the tournament because momentum is a big thing for us. We have proved over the last year or so that we can mix it with anybody – we are hard to beat and we can win games as well. It is a great combination really.

I think we have got a realistic chance of getting out of our group. Germany will be the favourites but it is wide open between the other three teams – Poland and Ukraine are a similar standard to Romania and Hungary, who we came up against in qualifying.

Mark Lawrenson: Qualifying was a fantastic achievement but I do not see them reaching the last 16, especially if Kyle Lafferty is not going to be fully fit – which is still a concern.

Gerry Armstrong: I don’t think Germany will be the toughest game in our group. That is the first one against Poland and if we can get something out of that one it would really set us up. Draw that game and beat Ukraine and we are into the last 16.

Martin Keown: They are going there to enjoy themselves but on the back of that there is a pride that they want to win as well. They are not there just to make up the numbers – they will have a go.

Kevin Kilbane: Realistically, if they can get out of the group stage then that is a success in itself.

What about Wales?

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What are Wales’ chances in France?

Rio Ferdinand: Wales are my dark horses. When you have got a player like Gareth Bale that the whole team seem to be willing to sacrifice their games for, knowing what he can do, it can be quite a powerful thing.

I am not saying they are going to win it but they know if they defend well and give him the ball in good areas they have got a chance in every game they play.

Jermaine Jenas: What Cristiano Ronaldo needs to do for Portugal, Bale has got to do that for Wales. You could argue the Wales team is better than Portugal with what they have got. They are definitely a team I would be worried about.

Robbie Savage: I think we can get to the quarter-finals but how far we do go depends on what happens to Bale. If you stop Bale then you stop Wales. Simple as that. In that group, he is the only player I would pay to watch.

John Hartson: Slovakia is a game we can win then England will be tough but, by the time we play Russia, I think England will have beaten them so hopefully they will have softened them up for us.

I think we will give a good account of ourselves. Bale will be pivotal but we defended really strongly in qualifying with six clean sheets in 10 games, and that will be the key to getting out of the group.

Dean Saunders: It is a tough group, nobody is a a pushover. Some people look at the Slovakia game as being winnable but they have just beaten Germany and have some really good players. So we should just aim to get out of the group. It’s great for all the players to just be there to start with.

How will Republic of Ireland do?

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Long happy with Republic preparations

Kevin Kilbane: We have a really tough group, clearly, but I am very confident about the first game because if you take Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of the Sweden side then I think man-for-man we are on a par with, if not better than them.

I would take anything at all from the Belgium game and then it is Italy. I covered Italy all the way through qualifying and I do not see them as a side that is really going to come and open the Republic of Ireland up or hurt us.

I would not want us to be hanging our hat on winning that last game but we will get out of our group.

Mark Lawrenson: It is a very tough group and I do not know where the Republic’s goals are coming from. I think they will finish third at best, and fourth place is more likely.

Lawro will be predicting the outcome of every game throughout the tournament in his European Championship predictions. See his picks for the first round of group games here.

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