Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Welsh fans provocative, says Smolov

By Phil Blanche

Russia striker Fyodor Smolov has accused Wales supporters of provoking his country's fans ahead of the two sides' Euro 2016 meeting in Toulouse.

The Group B clash between Wales and Russia tonight has been upgraded from medium risk to high risk following violent scenes in Marseille and Lille.

More than 600 extra police have been drafted in to ensure security at the Stade de Toulouse, in addition to the 1,500 already due to work at the game.

Russia received a suspended disqualification for fan order in relation to offences of crowd disturbances, use of fireworks and racist behaviour inside Marseille's Stade Velodrome in the 1-1 draw with England on June 11.

There were also disturbances in Lille when Russia played Slovakia last Wednesday, the night before England played Wales in nearby Lens.

And Smolov (26), had no doubt who was to blame for those incidents, accusing England and Wales fans of provoking Russians.

"I'm not really going to make any statement (over Russia fans), but I'd like the supporters to go on backing us," said Smolov.

"As for everything that goes on around us, there's a number of videos that have been uploaded on the web and clearly the English really did provoke them, and indeed the Welsh fans.

"Clearly these events mustn't go on in football stands.

"But if people really want to go out with the intention of scrapping, they should fight elsewhere.

"They shouldn't do so in the stadium, we want to have support in the stadium."

Belfast Telegraph