Two England football fans 'critically ill' amid bloody scenes in Marseille

Two England football fans 'critically ill' amid bloody scenes in Marseille

Two England football fans are reportedly in a critical condition in hospital after a third day of violent bloody clashes on the streets of Marseille.

French police used water cannon and tear gas on rioters hours before the Three Lions were due to kick off their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia at the Stade Velodrome.

Fist fights and bottle throwing broke out between the England supporters and their Russian and French counterparts in Marseille's Old Port on Saturday afternoon.

French paper L'Equipe reported that two England fans were in a critical condition after the running battles in the square and on side streets on Saturday afternoon, with a further 11 receiving minor injuries.

England fan Michael Tashall from London, was in Marseilles as the violence erupted.

He told the Press Association: "We were in the Old Port town and the Russian ultras ganged up with the Marseilles ultras and attacked the English supporters that were sitting there drinking beers.

"You go into town now and there are English supporters with blood pouring from their head from the Russians' attacks. They are outrageous. The World Cup in Russia should be taken away from them. It is an outrage."

In south-west France there were peaceful and joyous scenes as Wales marked their first ever European Championship appearance with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Bordeaux. But 315 miles to the south-east, it was a different story.

Social media was awash with pictures and phone video of savage violence in Marseille as the fans clashed, with chairs among items thrown and scenes of people being punched and kicked.

Broken glass lay strewn across the square and crunched underfoot as the police fired tear gas into the crowds causing them to run.

Fans were seen being beaten to the floor and repeatedly kicked in the head.

One English fan was seen sat on the floor covered in blood with a bandage round his head while another man was reportedly given CPR and taken to hospital after an apparent cardiac arrest.

Police water cannon arrived to try to control the fighting as they struggled to hold back the different groups.

Bloodied fans were seen fleeing the scene as missiles continued to be thrown.

Some of the streets close to the port were left covered in streams of blood and broken glass.

Eyewitnesses said a group of Russian hooligans arrived before fighting began.

Chairs from outside bars and cafes had been smashed apart and used as weapons. Some were covered in blood.

Car windscreens had also been smashed during the fighting.

Onlookers said the area looked "like a war zone".

Hundreds of people were contained within the area by a long line of riot police police who had formed a line.

Some people were chanting "England" or "Russia".

Two England football fans 'critically ill' amid bloody scenes in Marseille

European football body Uefa, which organised the tournament, issued a statement condemning the violence but saying it could only take disciplinary action "for incidents which happen within the stadium perimeter".

It added: "Uefa firmly condemns the incidents in Marseille. People engaging in such violent acts have no place in football."

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are in contact with French authorities about a British national injured in Marseille and stand ready to provide further support."

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