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Gelsenkirchen police say English and Serbian fans were involved in fighting

Gelsenkirchen police say English and Serbian fans were involved in fighting which briefly flared up on Sunday afternoon.

Sky News sports correspondent Rob Harris said it was thrown at a bar full of Serbian fans, while The Guardian report that a England fan, said to be from Birmingham and one police officer have been left with heavy head wounds.

The England fan received medical attention with heavy bandaging to the head. A police officer in plain clothes was also treated for a head wound.

The Guardian claim a group supporting England, had been seen by British police “spotters” rushing towards a bar in which around 30 Serbian fans were enjoying a drink five hours before kick off.

A number of reports claimed that Albanian fans may have launched the initial attack against Serbia, with a group of England fans getting caught up in the trouble.

But since then, Serbian fans at the scene have accused England fans of attacking them. They say they were sitting outside a restaurant when they were attacked.

A Serbian man and his son who were caught up in the violence told Express.co.uk: “It was a set up. [England] fans came down a side street and started throwing bottles.

“Our big guys came out of a bar owned by a Serbian guy. They started fighting and then ran off. This is my son’s first game. He doesn’t want to go now. He was so scared.”

A police officer also in attendance said they don’t believe it was England fans, but are still trying to identify who the hooded individuals were.

It has since been confirmed by German police and Sky Sports (after they initially said no England fans were involved) that English fans were involved in an “isolated” incident.

It erupted between groups of fans outside a bar, leading to one man, reportedly English and said to be from Birmingham, being taken away with blood on his face, so was another male, also said to be English.

Gelsenkirchen police said a few hours later that English and Serbian fans WERE involved in the earlier fighting: “It was an altercation between English and Serbian fans, who were separated by the police. Further measures are underway and the background is currently being clarified.”

They added on Sunday evening that they have made seven arrests as of now. All Serbian. Confirm that restaurant incident involved Serbian and England fans. Say they can’t confirm Albanian involvement, which was in some reports.

An eyewitness told MailOnline: “There was a sudden burst of violence. It came out of nowhere.

“It was unclear who started what. But to me it seemed liked a group of England fans rushed the bar where Serbs were drinking and it all kicked off with tables, chairs and bottles thrown.

“One man had blood pouring from a head wound – he was English I believe.”

Sky’s Rob Harris said: “This England match against Serbia here was always labeled high risk. We’ve just witnessed some disorder on one of the side streets off the main square.

“You see the police reinforcements now here the riot police. It follows an instant. That happened right here. We saw chairs being flung. Various fans charged around the corner. There’s now detritus of glass from all the bottles that were here at the bar. It was a bar of Serbia fans.

“We don’t know who else was directly involved in the fighting, or all we can say is I did see British police who are operating here charging around the scene as well, very visibly with flags on their back. And you can see even more police now coming in around this scene at a bar that was being used by Serbia fans.

“It’s the first sign really of any issues we’ve seen here through the day or indeed in the area over the last day of as fans have been gathering. But what we did see was tables being thrown, chairs being thrown. As various people were sort of charging down this street from where we are actually now. And obviously its led to a lot of bottles being thrown all around this this street. It’s the tensions, the disorder that they did fear happening here for this high risk fixture.

“And even now there are various British police we can see there they have no powers actually of arrest here the British police. But they act as spotters. And indeed trying to help the local German authorities.”

One eyewitness says: “Well, we were just ordering a meal. And there was a bunch of Serbian guys, supporters just in one end of the precinct. And then there was a lot of shouting, there was a lot of noise that was going on singing. Then all of a sudden bottles started to be thrown. Not sure which side where it started from, but it all escalated.

“And all of a sudden there was chairs, there was tables. And there was a lot of fighting between the English and the Serbians. And it was, I think, personally, I think it was all premeditated. If I’m being totally honest. Because it was so tranquil here. And that’s just escalated out nothing.

Rob adds: “Yeah, it was very peaceful. Were inside the same place. And then a group did seem to come round the corner.”

The eyewitness continued: “And obviously were further back. And we were just sitting having our meal. And all of a sudden, it was like. It was chaos within seconds.”

Rob adds: “There has been concerns raised about this match and high risk it was labeled. Is that something you feared coming to this game?

The eyewitness replies: “Well, we. My friends and I, we have. We have kind of looked at the history that there’s more might be a bit of a clash of antagonism between the two countries over nothing mostly. But at the end of the day, it was like. I’ve met Serbians earlier today. Three Serbians. And they’re absolutely fantastic. We were very friendly together. We were walking through the streets having a great time. Not a problem. And then all of a sudden, I think it’s like kind of an organised, kind of vendetta or whatever you want to call it. I’m not quite sure. Well. it was calculated in my opinion.”

German riot police vans arrived just after the trouble with around 200 officers sealing the area off then smaller riot police squads were sent out to find the perpetrators.

According to police sources at 5:30pm UK time, six arrests made in Gelsenkirchen after trouble this afternoon. All of which were Serbian.

Statement from UK Football Policing Unit: ‘We are aware of an issue in Gelsenkirchen ahead of the England v Serbia match. Our German colleagues have made a number of arrests of what we currently believe to be Serbian supporters. At this stage we do not believe that any UK nationals have been arrested but enquiries are ongoing. Our officers are at the location speaking to German colleagues, our investigation team is now reviewing footage of the incident and if any UK nationals have been involved, football banning orders will be sought.’

Kaveh Solhekol said on Sky Sports: “Well, this was an incident that happened probably about 30 or 40 minutes ago in a restaurant which is about one hundred, two hundred meters away from where I’m standing. Now I know there’s lots of stuff floating around on social media. But I’m just going to tell you what we have seen with our own eyes and also what German police officers here on the scene are telling us is that the incident involved Albanian football supporters and Serbian football supporters.

“All the German officers, we’ve spoken to say the incident did not involve England supporters. Now, what appeared to have happened is that some Serbian fans were eating in a steak restaurant and there was some kind of flashpoint between them and Albanian supporters outside this restaurant. And we’ve seen for instance chairs being thrown, glasses being thrown, and there was a brawl which only really lasted ten, twenty seconds and then pretty quickly German riot police arrived on the scene.

“Now, from what I’ve seen of the incident, I did not see any England supporters involved in the incident. There was no one involved in that fighting who was wearing an England shirt. Initially some I eyewitnesses told us that some England supporters had been caught up in the incident. And there were quite a few people who have been injured again. I haven’t seen any of those people who were injured dressed as England fans. For instance, the German authorities saying to us that the medics are dealing with the fans who were injured. And the German authorities saying to us the incident was an incident involving Serbian and Albanian supporters.

“Now you may be asking yourself, why are we having Serbian supporters fighting Albanian supporters on the day of a game between Serbia and England in Gelsenkirchen. Well, the simple point is, yesterday in Dortmund, Albania were playing Italy. Now, Dortmund is only about twenty miles away from where I am. And historically there are major, major issues between Albania and Serbia. At the moment, those issues really centre around the territory of Kosovo. Now, Kosovo is an independent country. It is made up predominantly of people of Albanian descent. But Serbia does not recognise Kosovo. Serbia thinks that Kosovo is a part of Serbia. So that is just one of the reasons why there are so many issues between Serbians and Albanians. And it looks like that is what we’ve seen here today in Gelkenkirchen. We’ve seen a group of Serbian fans who are here for the game against England fighting. A group of Albanian supporters who were in Dortmund just up the road, watching their side lose to Italy yesterday.”

See more of today’s stories by clicking HERE.

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