England fans' behaviour in the Netherlands 'appalling' and a 'worrying trend', say police chiefs

By Matt DavisBBC Sport
England flags along the canal
Dutch police said the majority of the fans arrested had been "disrupting public order"

Police chiefs have condemned the "appalling" behaviour of a "large number" of England fans before Friday's friendly against the Netherlands.

More than 100 fans were arrested in Amsterdam, the most for "several years" and part of a "worrying trend", say the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).

The NPCC had "significant" concerns about playing the game on a Friday evening, but had not been consulted.

The Football Association said it condemned the "unacceptable scenes".

"We always urge supporters to respect our hosts and behave in a responsible manner," it said in a statement.

"As ever, the FA will work in partnership with the UK football policing unit to help identify those involved and we will sanction any England Supporters' Travel Club member found to be responsible for disorder."

Football Supporters' Federation chief executive Kevin Miles said there could be "no defence of the atrocious anti-social behaviour by a minority of English fans" before the 1-0 friendly win over the Netherlands.

But he believed the main cause of the trouble was "a significant number, particularly of younger people, who had little interest in the football, and no intention of going to the game".

He said: "England fans have worked hard over the last decade or so to improve their reputation and disorder has become a rarity.

"It is not in the interests of the regular England followers for the anti-social behaviour to creep back in as it will inevitably impact on how we are received and treated by host police forces elsewhere."

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Ninety England fans were arrested in Amsterdam on Friday, taking the total number of arrests over two days beyond 100 after 25 supporters were held on Thursday.

UK police officers worked with their Dutch counterparts for the game and the NPCC says it is conducting an investigation and will seek banning orders.

There were 5,234 official England Supporters Club ticket holders in the away section at the Amsterdam Arena.

It is understood that if any of those fans were arrested, or found to have behaved inappropriately, they will be banned from the official supporters' club by the Football Association.

"The behaviour of a large number of England supporters was appalling," said deputy chief constable Mark Roberts, the NPCC lead for football policing. "Any attempts to downplay it are wide of the mark.

"The sad fact is that the drunken mob's behaviour reinforces the negative stereotype of England supporters, and will impact on the treatment all fans can expect when they follow the team abroad."

He added: "Last night resulted in the largest number of arrests for a single game we have seen for several years and, unfortunately, it follows a worrying trend observed at recent fixtures."

A number of fans booed the Dutch national anthem before the game, an act manager Gareth Southgate described as "unacceptable".