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England fans face booze ban at Euro 2024

German police have warned England fans they could be stopped from drinking both outside and inside the stadium at the opening fixture of the Euro 2024 tournament.

(Image: Veltins Arena (Arena AufSchalke), home stadium for Bundesliga team FC Schalke 04, in Gelsenkirchen.)

The news comes from the police chief Peter Both, who is in charge of the England v Serbia game in Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins Arena, and he added that water cannons could also be used.

Speaking to The Mirror, in comments that may concern official beer sponsor of the event Bitburger, Both said the security team were “discussing the possibility of banning alcohol in the stadium” and that he “make(s) no secret of it”.

Although uncommon in the UK for Premier League or other football events, it can be the case that German Bundesliga matches do ban alcohol consumption at what are deemed high risk events.

Both said that the security team were “checking” what extent banning alcohol in public places could occur at the match, and they wanted to “forbid” drinking in large areas. He is now preparing plans to discuss with British police and FA bosses, he added.

Although Both admitted that fans without tickets in Gelsenkirchen will be considered “peaceful” by police officers, he said that they will be quickly dealt with if “something happens”, and that some will be attending “with the intention of causing riots”. One of the issues was that there was not the same “pub infrastructure” as other cities, he said, with plans to use a racetrack as a fan space.

“My message to England fans is we will be prepared,” he said.

It follows issues nearly twenty years ago in 2006 when police banned 129 England fans from attending the England v Portugal quarter-final in Gelsenkirchen when trouble arose, and which resulted in 500 being detained in Stuttgart the weekend before the match.

The news follows a ban on alcohol at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, which was announced at the last minute. Restrictions were first put in place inside stadiums, and then at the beer sale points on the immediate stadium perimeters, in a move that impacted Budweiser, the official beer of the tournament.

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