England fans could face a £200 on-the-spot fine for drunken behaviour
10 October 2019, 20:15
England supporters are being warned they could face a £200 on-the-spot fine for drunken behaviour amid Friday night's Euro 2020 qualifier.
Almost 3,800 England fans have bought tickets for the qualifying match against the Czech Republic, with more expected to travel to Prague for the big game.
The late kick-off time of 8.45pm and the city's party reputation have led to fears of a repeat of scenes witnessed on recent trips to Amsterdam, Dortmund and Porto.
Fears are also high as the fixture coincides with a national day of mourning for the country's most famous singer, Karel Gott, who died last week.
Fans have been told they must be respectful of mourners.
The Football Association has launched a campaign asking England supporters to "report that idiot" if they see anti-social behaviour, while police have urged those going to the game to not "embarrass themselves".
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs' Council's Football Policing Lead, said British officers are on the ground to help local police to deal with any troublemakers.
He said: "The Czechs are very keen on early intervention, which is good, because our advice will be try to stop situations developing into something where you've got several hundred people, perhaps in drink.
"It's far better to move in early, try to have a chat with people, make sure people are behaving,
He continued: "The Czechs have said they will enforce the £200 on-the spot-fine for people being drunk in the street.
"Whilst everyone who has a drink clearly isn't going to be dealt with that way, if there are people who are getting a bit out of hand, starting to act in a disorderly manner, there is that option and they could face a fine on the spot."
Fans flying on Thursday have been warned about their conduct before their planes left the ground with a pre-flight announcement from the pilot asking them to behave or risk an early landing.
Plainclothes police were present to check passengers as they boarded, while British officers were visible as travellers cleared passport control in Prague.
Mr Roberts continued: "Prague's a beautiful city. Go, enjoy it, it's an absolutely fantastic place. We've got a team that's worth supporting and celebrating so there's plenty of things to go and enjoy.
"Just don't embarrass yourself or anyone else by drinking to excess and behaving in a way where you will see yourself on film or in print the next day."
He added: "When we have a drunken group who behave poorly, that affects the way police regard all England fans.
"We have had incidents where thoroughly decent England fans who are just there to see the match have been subject to some fairly robust policing.
"In Portugal, some fans just queuing to get in were batoned and that's probably out of the frustration local police build up when they see people behaving in a drunken and anti-social manner.
"And it's no guarantee the people who caused the problems are the ones who are going to suffer for their actions."