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Euro 2024: England fan bailed following disorder ahead of Euro 2024 opener against Serbia

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A 39-year-old man from Bolton was returning from Germany when he was detained by officers at Manchester airport on Monday evening under the Football Spectators Act 1989; Trouble unfolded in Gelsenkirchen before England faced Serbia in their Euro 2024 opener on Sunday

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An England football fan has been bailed by a court following trouble at the Euro tournament in Germany.

Gordon Thomas, 39, made the brief appearance at Manchester Magistrates’ Court for a hearing where police applied for a Football Banning Order, stopping him from attending matches for the next three years.

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.

He told the court after landing back in the UK at 8pm on Monday, his passport was seized and he was handed papers informing him the police were applying for a banning order and the case would be heard at the court on Tuesday.

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, said the application for the order was signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the law meant the defendant had to be brought before a court within 24 hours of the order being served.

District Judge Hirst told Thomas she would adjourn the hearing until a later date after he has seen a solicitor.

Thomas was bailed on condition he does not leave England or Wales before his next court appearance on August 23.

He 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.”

Earlier, 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.”

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