View Full Version : FA to contest Uefa's fans charge

Darren Addick
09-11-2006, 01:17 PM
The Football Association says it plans to strongly contest a Uefa charge of improper conduct against England supporters at a hearing on Thursday.
The charge followed disturbances between fans and Croatian police ahead of the Euro 2008 qualifier in Zagreb, which England lost 2-0 on 11 October.

But, before the hearing in Nyon, Switzerland, an FA spokesman said: "We believe we have a very strong case.

"We've given an extensive response with statements from officials and fans."

The FA had initially wanted to send representatives to a personal hearing but was advised that such a move would only be acceptable for an appeal.

If found guilty the FA could face a fine or even being forced to play England matches behind closed doors.

The Croatian FA will also face several charges, which relate to breaches of security and fan behaviour before and during the match.

Croatian police detained 187 Croatian fans and 31 English supporters were held for incidents away from the ground, while a further 25 England fans were arrested inside the stadium shortly after the match kicked off.

The FA has conceded there was some involvement by ticketless England fans but claims the incidents were sparked by the decision of Croatian police to baton-charge supporters amid congestion at the gates.

FA director of communications Adrian Bevington said: "The turnstiles were unexpectedly closed on two occasions during the build-up to the game, which created serious congestion.

"Additionally, despite our advice, the pre-entry checkpoints were too close to the turnstiles.

"As a result, when the gates were reopened, there was a surge forward by several hundred unofficially ticketed England supporters towards the turnstiles. This caused the officially ticketed fans to be forced towards the police cordon.

"The reaction of the police was to baton-charge many of those fans, leading to a number of well-behaved supporters being injured.

"We then had a situation where around 1,000 unofficially ticketed fans were placed in the England section of the stadium.

"This was despite our continued requests during the build-up to the match that at no time should this happen."