Russian Football Union condemns fan attacks in Euro 2012 opener

Fans kicked and punched stadium stewards on Friday night. Credit: YouTube / oleksiak

The Russian Football Union has called for fan unity following the news that UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against Russia over the behaviour of their supporters during their Euro 2012 victory over Czech Republic on Friday.

A statement from the union condemned the violence and requested "all true fans to reject the provocative actions of hooligans and offer full co-operation to the organisers of matches in respect of the provision of security."

It added: "We are addressing all fans who are in Poland. Remember that you represent your country. Respect yourself, your homeland and your team."

Anti-racism campaigners claimed Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie was the victim of monkey chants during Friday night's Group A game in Wroclaw, while fans were caught on camera attacking stewards in a walkway at the Municipal Stadium.

A UEFA decided to take action on Saturday night:

"UEFA has today announced that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Football Union of Russia (RFS) for the improper conduct of its supporters from the union condemned the violence and requested "all true fans to reject the provocative actions of hooligans and offer full co-operation to the organisers of matches in respect of the provision of security.

"In addition, regarding reports of alleged abuse directed at Czech Republic players from Russia fans, UEFA is investigating this further and is working with FARE to collect more evidence."

Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport that Russian fans did not racially abuse Theodor Gebre Selassie.

"Regarding some kind of abuse of a racial nature...That's all stupid and untrue. I was at the match and saw everything. Our fans were trying to make a Mexican wave, and the Czech end weren't joining in, so the Russians began to boo the Czechs.

"The organisation FARE has absolutely no connection to football. At the match there were the heads of UEFA, nobody said a single thing about it. It's just that somebody in Russia wrote something about it with a link to this organisation. Well, that's how much we [Russians] love ourselves.

"Regarding the use of flares, we need to sort that out, but it isn't just our fans who do that. Can we no longer even sneeze or shout in a stadium?"

Footage had originally emerged on YouTube of Russia fans attacking stadium staff at Friday night's Russia v Czech Republic match at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw.

The video showed a number of fans kicking and punching stewards in what appears Uefa has called a 'brief and isolated incident'.

One steward is left lying face down on the floor, apparently unconscious, before being helped to his feet later by colleagues.

The video, posted by user oleksiak last night, can be viewed by clicking through the link below.

The scenes of violence may not be suitable for a younger audience.

Read more on this story at ITV Sport.

Wroclaw police force officer Pawel Petrikowski said:

"During the fighting four members of security staff were injured and were later sent to hospital. They did not receive serious injuries and were sent home."

Russian and Ukranian fans clash

After the game Russian and Ukrainian soccer fans scuffled briefly in the streets of Lviv in the early hours of Saturday after watching a Euro 2012 game in the city's fan zone.

Around 15 Russian fans, delighted at their side's impressive 4-1 win over the Czech Republic, left the zone and started shouting and swearing at a smaller group of Ukrainians, said Reuters photographer Marian Striltsiv.

The two sides exchanged a few punches before local police quickly moved in and separated the combatants. No arrests were made.

One picture taken by a local agency showed a man with blood streaming from his nose.

Police denied there had been any violence and said they had prevented the two sides from fighting.

Tensions between the two nationalities are particularly high in Lviv, in the far west of the country, in part because of Ukrainian resentment at Soviet rule from 1939 to 1991.