October 7 – Police chiefs reportedly pleaded with UEFA to switch England’s Friday night Euro 2020 kick-off in Prague this week amid fears of alcohol-fuelled crowd trouble.
Prague has become a magnet for stag nights in recent years and, coupled with England’s reputation for fan disturbances, authorities are worried about what could happen.
Reports said UEFA – understandably – declined the request and England fans are now being warned they are “on the radar” and could face arrest and banning orders if they misbehave.
The English Football Association have launched their own ‘Report That Idiot’ campaign to encourage supporters to report trouble. Some 3,400 England fans are due to travel to the Czech capital.
“I wrote to UEFA asking them to reconsider the Friday night kick-off,” admitted deputy chief constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Football Policing Lead.
“I think it’s unfortunate (the request was turned down) because you can foresee the risk. We’d much rather prevent a situation developing than try to manage it on the night and regret it afterwards.”
“Our problem now is people engaging in anti-social behaviour, drinking too much. The stag do mentality. And we see that when it’s locations that are particularly easy to get to – Amsterdam, Dortmund and obviously Prague.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org