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England fan, 39, from Bolton, in court after police detain him at airport on return from Gelsenkirchen

An England fan, 39, from Bolton, has appeared in court after police detain him at Manchester Airport on return from Gelsenkirchen.

Gordon Thomas has since been bailed at Manchester Magistrates’ Court for a hearing where police applied for a Football Banning Order.

This means it will stop him from attending matches for the next three years following trouble at the Euros in Germany.

District Judge Joanne Hirst asked the defendant: “Do you oppose this application?”

Thomas replied: “Well, I have not seen what they said I have done.” Thomas, from Little Lever, Bolton, said he was stopped at Manchester Airport on Monday night after flying back to the UK from Amsterdam.

As per Sky Sports, he said in court that he had landed in the UK at 8pm on Monday, then had his passport seized and given papers informing him the police were applying for a banning order and the case would be heard at the court the next day.

District Judge Joanne Hirst told Thomas: “This is not a criminal matter, it is a civil complaint by the police to impose a Football Banning Order, it is said they can provide evidence you caused or contributed to disorder in the UK or elsewhere.

“Obviously, you need to know exactly what you are being accused of, I understand there’s some CCTV, some statements, will be sent to you.

“Football Banning Orders are quite Draconian, it would be a minimum of three years and stop you going to a football match for three years.

“It will be so that further violence will not be caused. You will want to see a solicitor.”

Laura Peers, prosecuting, explained that the application for the order had been signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the law meant the defendant would be in a court within 24 hours of the order being served.

District Judge Hirst informed the England fan that she would adjourn the hearing until a later date after he has seen a solicitor and he has subsequently been bailed on condition he doesn’t leave England or Wales before his next court appearance on the 23rd of August.

But he then told the judge: “Can I just ask, I have a family holiday in August. What’s the reason for withholding my passport until after the Euros have finished and England don’t play next until September?”

Judge Hirst replied: “You will not be having your passport back or leaving England and Wales. But see a solicitor. It doesn’t mean that condition cannot be varied. You need independent legal advice.”

Prior to an England fan, 39, from Bolton, appearing in court after police detain him at airport on return from Gelsenkirchen, Mick Johnson, head of the UK Football Policing Unit, said: “This action shows the breadth of the Euro 2024 football policing operation and demonstrates there are consequences for supporters who are intent on causing disorder.

“Any UK football supporter causing disorder in Germany which would be deemed an offence in this country could face police action upon their return.

“We are working with the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts and where appropriate, we will seek football banning orders to prevent perpetrators from attending future games both internationally and domestically.

“German police will also take action against those who break the law and this can include heavy fines and custodial sentences. We are working closely with our policing colleagues in Germany and have a team of UK officers deployed overseas supporting their operation.

“We want fans who are travelling to Germany to have a good time, but please remember to drink responsibly, respect the local culture and don’t put yourself in danger.”

There some violent clashes between fans before the game against Serbia. Originally, the German police had said that English reporters were not involved. But they have now said that they were at least six people were injured and police have made several arrests.

Sky reporter Kaveh Solhekol said: “This is what we know at around three o’clock. This afternoon here local time outside the restaurant behind me, there was a serious incident involving fighting between rival supporters. Now, the restaurant steakhouse was being used as a base for Serbian supporters.

“Now, initially, the German police here on the ground told us that the fighting had been between Serbian and Albanian supporters. And we also received a statement from the UK Football Policing Unit who said their German colleagues had told them there had been a number of arrests of Serbian supporters.

“UK Football Policing Unit also saying they weren’t aware of any arrests of UK nationals. Now, later this afternoon, we received an update and police who said that England fans had been involved in the disorder.

“The police on the ground also told us that there had been a number of injuries. They said at least six supporters had been injured and were being treated by medics by and large. I have to say most of the supporters we have seen in Gelsenkirchen today have been well behaved. But obviously this was a serious incident which the police are continuing to investigate.”

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