London: The Football Association on Sunday urged fans to be “responsible and respectful” following a UEFA threat to disqualify England from Euro 2016 over fan violence in France.
“We take this letter from UEFA with the utmost seriousness,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
The warning was reinforced by Monday editions of Britain’s main tabloids.
“Behave, Or We Will Be Kicked Out,” read a headline in the Daily Mirror.
The Daily Star said simply “BEHAVE!” but the paper blamed Russian fans for initiating the violence.
“Russian fans attack us… but WE get warning,” it said.
Glenn in his statement said: “Violent scenes like those witnessed over the weekend in Marseille have no place in football, nor society as a whole.
“We want people — fans and locals – to feel safe and enjoy a festival atmosphere at the Euros and we will continue to work closely with all the relevant authorities to achieve that,” he added.
Glenn also told The Times that he takes the threat of disqualification “extremely seriously”.
“We are making a plea to all England fans to remember that they are in a different country and that the best way to support the team is to be patriotic but respectful — yes have a drink and sing a song but nothing else,” he was quoted as saying in the paper’s Monday edition.
“The problems outside the ground were initially some unpleasant, embarrassing behaviour by English hooligans which was stepped up massively by what appeared to be totally co-ordinated action by organised Russian gangs,” he said.
“It was shocking, I had not seen scenes like that inside a stadium for decades,” he said.
UEFA on Sunday threatened to kick Russia and England out of the European Championship finals if there is a repeat of three days of violence in Marseille involving Russian and English fans.
Thirty-five people were injured in the worst violence at an international tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France. Three remained in serious condition.