Euro 2016: Beer flows despite alcohol clampdown in France
Lille (France): The beer spilled from plastic cups on the packed terraces of Lille cafes yesterday as a nationalist tone took over the buildup to two high-risk Euro 2016 games.
Football fans drink beer on the terrace of a bar in Lille, France yesterday. Pic/AFP
Watched by hundreds of police, groups of fans roamed the streets of Lille and Lens with Russian, English, Welsh and Slovakian flags draped around their shoulders.
Amid fears of a repeat of football violence that rocked Marseille at the weekend, French authorities said the influx could total more than 70,000 in a hope to see either Russia play Slovakia yesterday or England take on Wales on Thursday.
No effect of ban
The authorities ordered a clampdown on alcohol sales. Some cafes refused to serve alcohol until lunchtime. Guillaume, a barman at Le Khedive, a brasserie in the centre of the city, said he served his first beer at 8:00 am "and I haven't stopped since."
The Lille fan zone, where only lower strength beer was available, was only doing slow business however. A guard at the entrance said he had turned away some Russian fans for being too drunk.
"I told them to come back when they sobered up. They didn't take it badly," the guard said. "They flew from Nice and all had Russian flags around their shoulders. I support the Russian team but not what happened in Marseille," he said.