English FA urges travelling fans to curb anti-social behaviour
England’s Football Association (FA) has urged the supporters of the national team to stamp out “embarrassing” and anti-social behaviour ahead of the UEFA Nations League Finals in Portugal next month.
The FA released a video called “Don’t be that idiot” to highlight examples of English hooliganism that have come to light in recent months, ending with a message from England manager Gareth Southgate encouraging supporters to make the country proud by being on their best behaviour.
Video footage on social media last year showed English fans throwing bottles at police and bicycles into Amsterdam’s canals before their friendly international against the Netherlands at Amsterdam Arena.
Ninety fans were arrested before and after the match — where the Dutch national anthem was booed by a minority of England fans — and their behaviour was described as “appalling” by British police chiefs.
“It’s been a great season for English football and England but we can’t ignore some of the anti-social and embarrassing behaviour that has crept back into the game, “FA CEO Martin Glenn said in a statement.
“There are thousands of brilliant supporters wherever our teams go, but there is an increasing problem that must be called out. We all have a responsibility to represent the country in the right way and that is what we are trying to highlight.”
England reached the World Cup semi-finals last year while four English clubs reached European finals this season. Chelsea beat Arsenal in Wednesday’s Europa League final while Liverpool play Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday.
England play Netherlands in the Nations League semi-finals on June 6 followed by a third-place playoff or final against Portugal or Switzerland three days later.
The FA’s head of security Tony Conniford said a lot of the anti-social behaviour was fuelled by a combination of alcohol consumption and an ‘anything goes’ attitude on match days.
“People need to have a look at themselves and start to think: ‘If my relatives, wife or children were here with me, would it be an enjoyable experience?’ And the answer is no,” Conniford said.
“What this initiative is really doing is focusing on people to really have a look at themselves.”
REUTERS/Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar