Marseille: England manager Roy Hodgson has urged the team's fans to stay out of trouble after violence between Russian and English hooligans prompted European football's governing body UEFA to threaten to disqualify both teams from the ongoing Euro 2016 tournament.
English and Russian supporters were involved in widespread clashes here ahead of their Group B match on Friday. The violence left at least 35 people injured -- most of them English -- including a 50-year-old Englishman who is battling for his life in a hospital.
"As the England manager, I am obviously now very concerned about the threat that is hanging over us and the sanction that could possibly be imposed upon the England team. We worked very hard to get here and we want to stay in the competition," Hodgson said in a video shared by the Football Association on Twitter.
"I’m appealing therefore to all of our fans, and we appreciated your support at the matches of course, but I’m appealing to you to stay out of trouble and try and make certain that these threats that are being issued are never carried out and we will be able to do the best we can to stay in the competition," he added.
French authourites have acknowledged that approximately 150 Russian hooligans trained in various form of martial arts were involved in much of the violence altough they also hold English fans responsible.
England captain Wayne Rooney, who also appeared in the video, thanked the fans for their support, while urging them to avoid getting into trouble ahead of the team's next engagement -- against Wales in Lens on Thursday.
"I’d like to thank the fans for the support against Russia. Now we have a big game coming up against Wales and I’d like to ask the fans, ‘please, if you don’t have a ticket, don’t travel’. And for fans with tickets, ‘be safe, be sensible and continue with your great support for the players’," he said.