Official Russian football supporters' head to be deported from France

Alexander Shprygin was among 43 fans held on Tuesday in southern France after serious violence et Russia’s Euro 2016 clash with England in Marseille.

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The head of the official Russian supporters group, who was revealed this week to have far-right affiliations and be travelling with the official delegation, is among 20 fans being deported from Euro 2016 by the French authorities, reports The Guardian.

Alexander Shprygin was among 43 fans detained on Tuesday in southern France after serious violence marred Russia’s clash with England in Marseille.

“The delegation of the Union of Russian Fans, whose bus was stopped on June 14th on the way from Marseille to Lille, spent more than a day under arrest. Twenty people were later released and 20 others, including URF head Alexander Shprygin, were taken to a deportation centre from where they will be expelled from France within five days,” the Union of Russian Fans said on its website on Thursday.

“France’s authorities said they have taken this decision due to security considerations as they see a potential threat in these people. No other reasons have been provided.”

The Guardian revealed on Monday that the Fare network, which is used by Uefa to monitor discrimination within stadiums, had concerns about Shprygin’s racist views and far-right affiliations. He has previously been photographed performing a Nazi salute.

“The French authorities have made the decision to deport 20 Russian fans, another three are awaiting the court’s ruling. Also, nine fans were released in addition to the 11 already freed from custody earlier today,” the Russian Federation’s consulate general in Marseille, Sergey Molchanov, told the state news agency Tass.

Shprygin told the agency: “We will probably see our consul tomorrow. We will challenge this decision. It is an absolutely absurd award. We can challenge it within two days. We will ask for a lawyer. I was involved in no clashes or anything of the kind.”

According to Shprygin, the Russian fans are likely to be deported on Friday. “So, we have two days to challenge the decision of the French authorities. However, theoretically, they can take us to the airport already tomorrow morning.

“I have been given a resolution of Marseille’s prefect which says that according to information provided by the Russian side, we can be members of groups of active fans and hence allegedly pose a threat to security. So, we are to be expelled. I would like to stress: not deported but expelled. They are not deporting us with no right of further entry to the country, they are going to expel us. It means we will keep our visas,” he said.

He said that six more people representing associations of fans of Russian football clubs are currently kept by the police in Marseille. “They have been detained for further probe. They are heads of fan clubs of Moscow’s Lokomotiv, Tula’s Arsenal, Rostov, delegates from Moscow’s Dinamo and Orel,” he said.

On Tuesday, local law enforcement officials stopped a bus near Cannes carrying Russian football fans on the way to Lille to see their home team’s second group stage match.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.

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