Paris, June 18 (IANS) Russian football fans, detained after disorderly conduct in Marseilles during the Euro championship and deported from France, have taken a flight to Moscow, Russia’s Consul General in Marseilles Sergei Molchanov said on Saturday.
“We have got confirmation the plane has departed,” he told TASS over telephone. “Now the fans may be welcomed in Moscow.”
According to the most recent media reports, a total of 20 Russian football fans were eventually ordered to be deported from France, while 20 more were released from custody, reports TASS.
On Saturday morning, the police escorted the fans from Marseilles to the airport, from where they are now on an Aeroflot direct flight to Moscow.
According to earlier French media reports, a court in Marseilles ruled on Thursday to sentence three detained Russian football fans, namely Alexei Yerunov, Sergei Gorbachev and Nikolai Morozov, to prison terms between 12 and 24 months after finding them guilty of taking part in mass disturbances last week at the 2016 Euro Cup match between England and Russia.
All sentenced Russians are between 28 and 33 years in age. French La Marseillaise daily reported that Yerunov was handed a two-year prison term, while Gorbachev and Morozov were sentenced to 18 months and 12 months in prison respectively.
Numerous clashes were reported between football fans at the major European football tournament, currently underway in France. Most notorious altercations erupted between Russian and English fans ahead of the match on June 11. Brawls began on Thursday in Marseilles peaking at the June 11 match.
Law enforcement officials resorted to tear gas, smoke pellets and water cannons to disperse the brawlers. Over 30 people were reported to be hurt in the clashes, with four people hospitalised after sustaining severe injuries.
On Tuesday, French law enforcers stopped a bus with over 43 Russian football fans en-route from Marseilles to Lille, where their national team played its second group stage match against Slovakia on Wednesday.
The French authorities decided to deport 20 fans claiming among them are “tough and well-trained hooligans”, though the detectives failed to identify anybody in 200-hour video records of the disorders. Another 20 fans were released.