FA Says Behaviour of England Fans an Embarrassment After Police Clashes in Porto

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Signs promote the UEFA Nations League finals in the city center of Porto, Portugal prior the semifinal soccer match between Portugal and Switzerland, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The Football Association has condemned the behaviour of England fans who clashed with Portuguese police in Porto on Wednesday.

Bottles were thrown at Portuguese supporters watching their team beat Switzerland 3-1 in the first UEFA Nations League semi-final at a fan zone, as well as at police.

Per BBC Sport, a statement issued by the FA said:

"The FA strongly condemns the scenes witnessed in Porto overnight.

"Anyone responsible for these disturbances cannot be seen as true England supporters and are not welcome in football. They are an embarrassment to the team and the thousands of well-behaved fans who follow England in the right way."

The Guardian's Sean Ingle, Miguel Delaney of The Independent and the Telegraph's Sam Wallace shared footage of the trouble:

Sean Ingle @seaningle

Kicking off at Fan Zone after England fans throw bottles at police and police respond by charging at England fans ... police cheered on by locals https://t.co/yTGnqAiB3d

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Random skirmishes just breaking out https://t.co/cyvtWotS4H

Sam Wallace @SamWallaceTel

Another standoff between England fans and the Portuguese PSP force in the fanzone in central Porto. Police have shields out & bottles being thrown at them https://t.co/a5V7n3wnXM

According to MailOnline's Shekhar Bhatia and Sebastian Murphy-Bates, three supporters were arrested on Wednesday amid the clashes. Offensive songs were also sung and a flare was lit by one fan.

It's said up to 20,000 fans have travelled to Porto ahead of England's Nations League semi-final with Netherlands on Thursday.

The match will be played at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes, 30 miles from Porto. England fans have an allocation of 10,000 seats in the 26,000-capacity venue but have reportedly bought around 18,000 tickets.

The clashes have come a week after the FA launched a campaign urging travelling fans to behave:

The FA @FA

You wouldn't normally do this. So what makes football different? https://t.co/VmkJXj50eU

BBC Sport's Dan Roan shared a statement issued by UK police, but Paul Hayward of the Telegraph felt it was insufficient:

Paul Hayward @_PaulHayward

We never face up to how scary and vile it is for the towns and cities England visit. If we did, England would stop playing abroad until a solution could be found. But we're too arrogant for that.

The Times' Henry Winter called on UEFA and the FA to do more to prevent such incidents:

Henry Winter @henrywinter

...More banning orders needed, reporting to police station at kickoff. Self-policing by fans helps; more needed on offensive chants in main section. NB: Uefa almost threw #eng out of Euro 2004 here. Even if just a minority, England are serial offenders & risk becoming pariahs 5/5

Per Bhatia and Murphy-Bates, UEFA sold thousands of tickets online to "unmonitored" Three Lions fans.

In March last year, more than 100 England supporters were arrested in Amsterdam after disturbances including thrown bottles when the Three Lions took on Netherlands in a friendly.

England were also hit with a warning by UEFA at the 2016 European Championship amid trouble with supporters.