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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
England fans attacked in Moscow
Fans rioting in Moscow in 2002
In 2002 hooligans rioted in Moscow following defeat in the World Cup
Five England football fans have been beaten up in Moscow ahead of the Euro 2008 qualifying match with Russia, the Foreign Office has said.

A spokesman said two of the fans - among 4,000 in the city - had been treated and released and the three others were to leave hospital later.

None of the supporters is thought to have suffered serious injuries.

A total of 6,000 police officers will be stationed around the stadium on Wednesday to prevent crowd trouble.

According to police in Moscow, officers have been guarding the hotel where many of the England fans are staying.

Crucial game

Moscow deputy police chief Yevgeny Gildeyev told the AFP news agency that the clashes between Russians and England fans had been reported on Tuesday night and that a 25-year-old Moscow resident had been arrested suspected of being involved in one of the beatings.

The British embassy said that five Britons had been taken to hospital with "various injuries".

Gildeyev also appealed for supporters not to antagonise each other.

"We appeal both to Russian and English supporters not to show any inappropriate behaviour towards each other, either inside or outside the stadium," he said.

British football fans get drunk and provoke conflicts themselves
Yevgeny Gildeyev
Moscow deputy police chief

Russian news agency Itar-Tass quoted Mr Gildeyev as saying that England fans were behaving inappropriately.

He said many were giving the impression they had gone to Moscow "simply in order to drink and amuse themselves in clubs".

He was also quoted as saying that "British football fans get drunk and provoke conflicts themselves", adding that police had found some of them in such a state of drunkenness on Tuesday they were forced to accompany them back to their hotels.

mac

Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy reported that England fans were beaten in violent clashes across Moscow's city centre, with three incidents taking place at the same time.

It said the first clash happened near an underground station when four England fans were making their way back to their rooms in a hotel.

They were attacked in a subway and beaten up.

At about the same time, a 33-year-old fan was seriously beaten up on a street and suffered head injuries, the station reported.

It said a 25-year-old was arrested in connection with this attack.

The station said a third attack also took place in the city centre, with a drunk England fan being taken to a police station saying he had been beaten in a bar.

Wreath

The authorities have prepared a massive security operation to try to prevent violence in and around the Luzhniki stadium.

England need a win to guarantee qualification to the final stage of Euro 2008.

Russia has some of the most feared football fans in Europe and a problem with organised hooliganism.

When Russia lost to Japan in the 2002 World Cup, football fans rioted in the centre of Moscow, burning cars and smashing shop windows. Two people were killed.

Earlier on Wednesday, England fans, accompanied by the British ambassador, took part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Red Square.



SEE ALSO
Airport police target hooligans
16 Oct 07 |  Manchester
Supporters injured in Moscow
16 Nov 03 |  Wales



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