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Thursday, February 26, 1998 Published at 10:33 GMT


Police plan World Cup security
image: [ England and Italy fans clash with riot police last year. ]
England and Italy fans clash with riot police last year.

The BBC's Alisdair Sandford reports (3' 28")
English football and police chiefs are meeting World Cup organisers to ensure matches are not marred by hooliganism.

The security summit is being held as fears are raised over England fans travelling to France without match tickets.

Sir Brian Hayes, the English Football Association's head of security, will tour Bollaert stadium in Lens, near Lille, where England play Colombia on June 26.

He is meeting members of the French organising committee, the CFO, to try to ensure the World Cup match is trouble-free.

The game could be crucial to both sides as it will be their last group game.

England fans have been told not to cross the Channel unless they have match tickets bought from official outlets.

But Colin Ward, an author who has written three books on football fans and their obsessions, believes the call will be ignored.

He said: "If people want to travel they'll travel. It's the World Cup."

Police tactics

South Yorkshire's assistant chief constable Tim Hollis, who is the British head of operations for the tournament, is meeting local French police officers in charge of security for the game.

He said: "Tact and good humour is almost a trademark of the British police.

"Being able to talk and work with the crowd on the streets ... can frequently reduce the need for riot police."

British police officers will be in France to identify known trouble-makers to their French counterparts.

But it is hoped that the French riot police can remain in the background.

Fears have been raised that despite French efforts to stop touts block-buying tickets, thousands of seats will go on sale on the black market.

On Friday, Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, is to host a seminar with European police chiefs in Blackburn to discuss football policing and exchange intelligence information.

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