New details from Marseille brawl suggest Russian, English football hooligans joined to fight locals

© Kai Pfaffenbach
Russian and English football fans reportedly joined forces to fight French locals in Marseille during Euro 2016, some online posts allegedly from witnesses suggest.

Amid the football championship, RT reporter Alexey Yaroshevsky has discovered testimonies on internet forums that describe the situation in one of the host cities as a “festival of street violence.” One such story suggested that an alliance had been formed between Russian and English football fans to battle French locals in Marseille, Yaroshevsky tweeted 

According to the post, which was written in Russian football slang, some 30 to 40 Russian hooligans joined forces with 20 Brits to fight “a hundred, if not more locals.” 

Congratulating fellow hooligans for upholding “the warrior spirit,” the author said that the fighting had started with a scuffle between Russian and British fans, with the latter throwing bottles and chairs at the Russians. “It should be noted police were nowhere to be seen,” he added. 

The fight was then joined by some 100 fans of the local football team Olympique de Marseille, the forum post said, claiming that the involvement of the locals, who were mainly “blacks and Arabs,” prompted the Russians and Brits to unite against them. “Police took their time again, only appearing 20 minutes later,” it claimed.

Clashes inside and outside the stadium broke out on Saturday when Russia’s and England’s national teams played their first game, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Some 30 people were reportedly injured in ensuing brawls.

Russia was fined €150,000 (£119,000/$168,000) following the fan violence, and warned by the UEFA that it would be thrown out of Euro 2016 if the trouble continued. England has also been threatened with disqualification from the tournament because of fan violence, but has not been formally charged by the UEFA.

On Wednesday, French security forces in southern France stopped a bus carrying Russian supporters who were on their way to watch their team play in a match against Slovakia in Lille. French authorities said 43 fans were detained because they are suspected to have been involved in the Marseille clashes. 

READ MORE: French authorities to deport 20 Russian football fans after Euro 2016 brawls 

While allowing that behavior of some Russian fans at the championship has been unacceptable, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that he had officially asked his French counterpart not to take a one-sided view of such incidents. The diplomat also blamed French authorities for not having informed Moscow of the detention of Russian citizens.

Reacting to Saturday’s incident, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that he had attended the games himself and stated that “the overwhelming majority of Russian fans are decent people, who came [to France] to watch football and have some rest.” The minister also accused French authorities of failing to provide adequate security for the tournament.