William Eichler 10 July 2018

Council cancels World Cup public screenings after ‘outbreaks of disorder’

Middlesbrough Council has cancelled the public screening of England’s World Cup semi-final after ‘outbreaks of disorder’ during the last match.

The council said the planned screening in Centre Square would be ‘put on hold’ after intoxicated fans tried to force their way into the enclosure during England’s quarter-final clash with Sweden.

Stewards were subjected to a ‘volley of abuse and threats of violence’, the council said, and a number of flares were also smuggled in, lit and thrown into the crowd.

‘We wanted to give England fans the opportunity to follow the team’s progress, and this worked well for Tuesday’s game against Colombia,’ said Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for culture and communities.

‘However the behaviour experienced on Saturday – and in particular the abuse and intimidation aimed at hard-working staff – was completely unacceptable and something we will not tolerate.

‘This behaviour put the safety of families and children in danger, and in at least one instance resulted in injury.

‘We have consulted with our colleagues at Cleveland Police, and accept their advice that it would simply not be advisable to screen any further games in this way.

‘I can only apologise to law-abiding fans, and I would urge those involved in Saturday’s disorder to think long and hard about their behaviour.’

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