England: German police warn of 'violence-seeking' Serbia fans ahead of most 'high-risk' Euro 2024 match

England: German police warn of 'violence-seeking' Serbia fans ahead of most 'high-risk' Euro 2024 match

German police are braced for an army of up to 500 Serbian hooligans trying to cause trouble when England kick-off their Euro 2024 campaign in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

Officers are gearing up for major fan disorder ahead of what has been branded the most "high-risk" match of the tournament.

An estimated 40,000 English fans are expected to travel to the game, along with 5,000-8,000 Serbian supporters.

That could include up to 500 "violence-seeking" Serbian ultras who are expected to travel to the tournament in Germany.

Fan violence is rife in the Serbian club game, in which hooligan firms with names such as 'The Gravediggers' and 'Head Hunters' have been linked to organised crime groups. English fans have been targeted during recent European ties in Serbia, including when Red Star Belgrade thugs attacked Manchester City fans in December.

A 9pm kick-off on a Sunday in by far the smallest host city this summer increases the threat of clashes between rival fans.

Peter Both, the chief of police in Gelsenkirchen, said: "Up to 400 or 500 violence-seeking Serbian hooligans will travel to Germany, but we don't know it exactly, and so that's our problem at the moment.

"We don't have concrete information, but we can't rule it out, so we have to prepare."

More than 1,000 German police officers will be on duty on Sunday, supported by hooligan spotters and a riot unit.