No ban on strong alcohol for England v Denmark despite ‘high risk’ status

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England’s fixture against Denmark in Frankfurt on Thursday has been classified as “high risk” by German police but there will be no ban on the sale of high-strength alcohol at the stadium.

The categorisation brings an increased police presence, as there was for England’s opening Euro 2024 game against Serbia, though officials insisted their priority would be a “de-escalating and communicative approach”.

In a statement released to the Guardian, Björn Thies, detective chief inspector of Hessen police said: “The game in question [has been] classified as a high-risk game by the police. We are very well prepared for this game, both in terms of the number of colleagues deployed and the modern equipment. The Hessen police concept provides for a phased approach that enables us to react appropriately to all scenarios.”

For England’s match against Serbia last Sunday the centre of Gelsenkirchen was occupied by dozens of police vans and riot officers in the hours before the game. Violence involving about 150 England and Serbia fans broke out near the central station, and one England fan, Gordon Thomas, a 39-year-old from Bolton, was arrested and sent home.

On Tuesday, Thomas was bailed after a hearing at Manchester magistrates court, where police applied for a football banning order, stopping him from attending matches for the next three years.

Thies said the approach of Hessen police would be to try to avoid further arrests. “We are vigilant and have taken all necessary precautions to be able to react quickly and effectively at any time,” he said. “First and foremost, we rely on a de-escalating and communicative approach. We will consistently prevent any crimes we identify within the framework of proportionality and prosecute them by initiating appropriate proceedings.”

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In Gelsenkirchen, beer available in and around the stadium last Sunday was limited to 2% alcohol and fans were not allowed to drink it in the stands but no such restrictions will be in place in Frankfurt.


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