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England and Serbia fans clash as riot police called ahead of Euro 2024 game

Violence broke out in Gelsenkirchen between England and Serbia fans ahead of the Three Lions’ first Euro 2024 game on Sunday night.

Police in riot gear have blocked off roads in the German city after fighting broke out in the streets around a bar where Serbia fans had gathered, according to Sky News Sports Correspondent Rob Harris.

An eyewitness told MailOnline: “There was a sudden burst of violence. It came out of nowhere.

“It was unclear who started what. But to me it seemed liked a group of England fans rushed the bar where Serbs were drinking and it all kicked off with tables, chairs and bottles thrown.

“One man had blood pouring from a head wound – he was English I believe.”

More than 30,000 England fans descended on Gelsenkirchen for the match, which German, English and Serbian police have deemed “high-risk”.

Over 10,000 Serbian fans were also said to attend the game, with Gelsenkirchen’s chief of police Peter Both raising concerns that around 500 “violence-seeking ­Serbian ­hooligans” would be among the fans.

Footage from Sky News showed a group of fans at a bar in central Gelsenkirchen toppling tables and throwing glasses and chairs before riot police were seen chasing a group of fans.

Policing is expected to be more challenging after UEFA asked for barriers to be removed inside the Arena AufSchalke stadium, while both sides will be seated close together and two-thirds of tickets will go to mixed areas.

Fans are being served lower-alcohol beer in the stadium and have been banned from drinking in the stands as a safety precaution.

Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Fans gather before England v Serbia - Gelsenkirchen, Germany - June 16, 2024 Police officers secure the area after clashes between fans ahead of the match REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
Police officers secure the area after clashes between fans ahead of the match (Photo: REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen)
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - JUNE 16: Police secure the area outside a restaurant where a Serbia fan was attacked by a masked fan in Gelsenkirchen city centre of before the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Serbia and England at Arena AufSchalke on June 16, 2024 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Police secure the area outside a restaurant where a Serbia fan was attacked by a masked fan in Gelsenkirchen city centre (Photo: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Fans gather before England v Serbia - Gelsenkirchen, Germany - June 16, 2024 Police officers secure the area ahead of the match REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
Police officers secure the area ahead of the match (Photo: REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen)

Before the match, chief inspector Christof Burghardt told Sky News: “I think it’s a very high-risk game because of the history, because of the hooligans both sides have.”

He added: “Serbia has many hooligans. The English guys, with alcohol, they are sometimes very aggressive.

“So it’s a great job to do this, to prepare, so that hopefully nothing will happen.”

The clashes come after German police shot down a man with an axe close to a Euros fan zone in Hamburg earlier today.

The incident occurred in the St Pauli area of the city, where police said the man had threatened officers.

The suspect was shot and is now receiving medical treatment, police said.

This is a live story and is being updated.



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