England fan and seven Serbs facing charges after clashes at Euro 2024

<span>Police outside the restaurant in Gelsenkirchen where <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:England;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">England</a> and <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Serbia;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Serbia</a> fans clashed.</span><span>Photograph: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images</span>

One England fan and seven Serbs are facing criminal charges and tournament bans after the brawl involving 150 people before Sunday’s game between the two countries.

The violence in central Gelsenkirchen, in western Germany, erupted after England fans had sought to enter a steakhouse full of Serbia supporters, German police have said.

One English fan was treated at hospital but discharged himself to attend the game at the 50,000-capacity Arena AufSchalke. England won 1-0 after a header from Jude Bellingham in the 13th minute.

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The fighting at 3.45pm local time led to chairs and tables being upended, and several fans and at least one police officer were left with heavy head wounds.

At a press conference in Gelsenkirchen, Peter Both, the police chief responsible for the event, said it was not clear who provoked the violence but that eight men would face criminal proceedings.

He said: “The Serbian fan group was already in the restaurant and obviously ate there and then a larger group of English fans then tried to get into this restaurant as well. And that’s exactly what sparked the dispute.

“What we can hardly say now, of course, in retrospect, is did the Serbs refuse entry to the English or did the English provoke the Serbs? Of course, this can hardly be brightened up afterwards. The fact is that when they tried to enter the pub, there was an immediate physical altercation.”

Both said he would recommend that those arrested are banned from attending tournament games. He said: “We subsequently made several detentions. We carried out a total of around 50 identity checks. We took eight fans into custody before the game, who were then unable to watch the game.”

Both, who had warned before the “high-risk” game of the possibility of disorder, said the behaviour of the England fans had otherwise been “great”.

“If we had predicted in the opening press conference that there would be one detention [of an England fan], then we would all have gladly taken it,” he said. Both added: “Why did the police only take seven or eight people into custody when there were 150 people running around? The first issue is that you can only take someone into custody if you can make an individual accusation.

“So the ones where we can say either via video recordings or via personal evidence from deployed police officers, I can prove that you threw this chair, you threw this glass, you hit that one, have seen that, I can prove it – only those are then taken into custody accordingly.

“We have everyone’s personal details and are now in contact with the organiser, with Uefa, because we would already make a recommendation to Uefa. They can see if these people still have tickets for other games and we would recommend that these tickets are then blocked for the next games.”

England will return to Gelsenkirchen at the end of the month if they win their group. Some England fans had complained of difficulties in getting to the stadium. Organisers said there had been a short electrical failure on the tram system but that the transport system had otherwise worked smoothly. There were also complaints from some England fans about difficulties in getting buses and trams away from the stadium back to their accommodation.

Both said: “I was at Wembley last year and Wembley stadium was sold out with 85,000 spectators and I can tell you, I wasn’t back on the train in London 10 minutes after the game. I had to wait a very, very long time in a big crowd but I price that in when I go to an event like this. That’s what most people do.”