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Alcohol banned from around stadiums and fanzones at Euro 2016

The Republic of Ireland have their first match this evening, against Sweden in Paris.

People run after police fire tear gas following clashes after the Euro 2016 soccer championship group B match between England and Russia in Marseille.
People run after police fire tear gas following clashes after the Euro 2016 soccer championship group B match between England and Russia in Marseille.
Image: Darko Bandic

THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT has announced a ban on alcohol near Euro 2016 venues and fanzones, after three days of drunken violence among fans in the southern city of Marseille.

“I have asked for all necessary measures to be taken to prohibit the sale, consumption and transport of alcoholic drinks in sensitive areas on match days and the day before, and on days when fanzones are open,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

It comes after Russian and English supporters – as well as French locals – clashed in pitched battles in Marseille at the weekend ahead of their teams’ first-round encounter in the worst violence seen at an international tournament since the 1998 World Cup.

Saturday’s unrest, which left more than 30 people injured, prompted UEFA to warn both Russia and England that they risked being thrown out of the tournament if there was any repeat.

The ban will include public areas, as well as shops and off-licences, Cazeneuve said.

Senior local officials can also ban bars and cafes from serving drinks on their terraces in containers that can be used as missiles.

“The events which took place in Marseille [...] are unacceptable. Unacceptable for the authorities, unacceptable for society, unacceptable for football lovers,” Cazeneuve said.

More than 1,200 riot police were deployed to quell the unrest, which began when hundreds of supporters – many of them drunk – began pelting each other with bottles and chairs in Marseille’s Vieux Port area.

There was more trouble inside the Stade Velodrome at the end of the 1-1 draw, when Russian fans charged into an English section of the ground.

First Ireland match

The Republic of Ireland play their first match of the tournament this evening at the Stade de France in Paris, with Sweden providing the opposition (kick off is at 5pm Irish time).

Thousands of supporters have made the journey over in recent days – many making the trip without a ticket.

The latest travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs for France advises Irish fans to “exercise a high degree of caution” in light of the heightened security alert in the country.

Supporters heading to the Euros can also download a free smartphone app from the department that sends security alerts in the event of a terror attack. A handy guide for people travelling to France for the tournament has also been released.

“All fans heading to Euro 2016 in France can download the app and ‘favourite’ France, to get France-related security updates from my department direct to their phone,” foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan said as he launched the app last week.

Mothers and fathers back in Ireland can do the same.

Security worries aside, the app also provides information on local laws, entry requirements, health and emergency contacts. It also has a secure facility to register with the local Irish embassy or consulate.

Includes reporting from - © AFP, 2016

Read: Northern Ireland fan dies in France >

Read: ‘The English fans use chairs and bottles, the Russian style is only fists’ >

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