Czech police have been put on high alert for the arrival of an estimated 6,000 English supporters for Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifier between England and the Czech Republic.
The fixture has been designated as high risk, with the Czech police ready to deploy an unprecedented number of officers, including English-speaking “anti-conflict units” and, if necessary, anti-riot units.
Prague’s surveillance camera system will be used to monitor fans’ behaviour away from the stadium, a city council spokesperson said.
When England played the Netherlands in a friendly on a Friday night in Amsterdam during March 2018, there were more than 100 arrests and condemnation for the appalling behaviour of the travelling fans.
“I wrote to Uefa asking them to reconsider the Friday night kick-off,” Roberts said. “That’s not something we’ve been able to do. It is harder when you’re dealing with them [Uefa] and, particularly, when you’re playing away. I think it’s unfortunate because you can foresee the risk. We’d much rather prevent a situation developing than try to manage it on the night and regret it afterwards,” said the English national police lead officer for football, Mark Roberts.
Having made a 100% winning start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, England could even secure their place at the tournament this month if they win both games.
The Three Lions will face the Czech Republic, a side they beat 5-0 in March, in Prague on Friday 11 October, with the Bulgaria fixture to follow in Sofia on Monday 14 October – England prevailed 4-0 winners in the reverse game against Bulgaria last month.
The Czechs are second in the table with nine points and three games to play. England, which has a game in hand, tops the group with 12 points.
Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Montenegro are also in the group.