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Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008
England fans want more protection

By Duncan Crawford
Newsbeat reporter

England fans
For years the English were known as the football hooligans of Europe

There are calls for England football fans to get better protection when they travel to games abroad.

The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) has told Newsbeat supporters are now more likely to be targeted by foreign hooligans than start trouble themselves.

The FSF's Kevin Miles says foreign police need to be more aware that England supporters are often the victims of crimes.

"There are so many people who want to make a name for themselves at our expense - and think because they're English fans, they are legitimate targets," he explained.

"There is clearly a case for better protection for English football supporters."

For years the English were known as the football hooligans of Europe and some fans still cause trouble.

They sometimes get into fights and can get drunk and rowdy.

Out of nowhere, a bunch of local Croatians just turned up and started laying into us. Kicking and punching. We were hit over the head with a bottle
John, England fan
But the latest Home Office statistics show only five England fans were arrested at games abroad last season.

In comparison at Euro 2000, hundreds of England supporters were detained and deported from Holland and Belgium.

Since then, banning orders have stopped a lot of trouble makers travelling abroad.

England fan John, 29, who went to the England v Croatia game in Zagreb in September, said: "Out of nowhere, a bunch of local Croatians just turned up and started laying into us. Kicking and punching. We were hit over the head with a bottle."

His friend Jim, 27, was also attacked. He added: "My head, it split open. There was quite a lot of blood.

"I managed to get away and start running. I know exactly why we were attacked. Because we were England fans. No other reason."

Stephen Thomas, head of policing football at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), believes the threat of disorder in a foreign country now is England fans being attacked.

He said: "Our fans will be picked on by foreign hooligan groups who see the English as the ultimate hooligans.

"They think that if they can fight and beat the English in a fight, then they can take that mantle off them."

England fans
Riot police wrestle a football fan to the ground
The European Commission has just given the go-ahead to a multi-million pound pan-European football police training programme.

The money will be used to train European police in different tactics to deal with football fans.

Bryan Drew, head of the UK football policing unit told Newsbeat that British police methods will be shared with foreign police commanders.

He said: "The idea is to share knowledge, share identified good practice, share experience across Europe. We want to bring a degree of consistency to football-related policing across Europe."

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