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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Charged fans can go to Euro 2004
Stoke's Britannia Stadium
Trouble flared after Stoke played West Ham at the Britannia Stadium.
Football fans charged in connection with trouble after a domestic league game can go to Portugal for Euro 2004 after bail conditions were lifted.

Twenty-one fans were charged following violent clashes after Stoke's home match with West Ham on 24 April.

At an earlier hearing they were banned from leaving the UK during Euro 2004.

But District Judge Graham Richards ordered the restrictions to be lifted during a hearing at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court, Stoke-on-Trent.

He overruled prosecution objections to the decision, dismissing claims that the tournament had not been trouble-free and describing the Portuguese system through which British nationals were being processed as "a farce".

Prosecutor Paul Spratt said 21 defendants were charged following alleged trouble after Stoke City's home encounter against West Ham on 24 April and were banned at earlier hearings from leaving the UK between 11 June and 7 July.

Among them is Ian Clegg, 36, a failed BNP local election candidate from Meir, Staffs, and a serving soldier, 20-year-old Matthew Sproston, from Weston Coyney, Staffs.

Referring to the prosecution of Britons following trouble on the Algarve, in Portugal, Judge Richards said: "It does seem to be a farce."

The case was adjourned until 19 July for video evidence to be collated.




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