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France Checking Russian Soccer Fans For Hooligans


French officials are checking the identities of Russian soccer fans in a search for supporters who may have been involved in clashes with English fans that injured dozens at a weekend game.

Francois-Xavier Lauch, a French official in the Alpes-Maritimes area, said on June 14 that police were checking the passports of some 29 Russian fans at a hotel near Marseille looking for those "considered a risk" to engage in violence.

Lauch said officials have already decided to transfer some of the Russian fans to a holding center near the border.

Meanwhile, French police have stopped a bus on its way to the city of Lille.

Aleksandr Shprygin, the head of a Russian fan group, said in a tweet sent from the bus that French riot police had stopped the bus in the city of Cannes.

Shprygin told Reuters that police have asked the Russian fans to disembark from the bus but they have refused until a Russian consul officer is present.

"We are in a bus in Cannes and we have been blocked in by riot police," Shprygin said. "We are not going anywhere for the time being and are waiting for the consul."

The Russian soccer team will play Slovakia in a Euro 2016 group game on June 15 in Lille. England will play Wales the same day in the nearby town of Lens.

Russian and English fans clashed before and after a game on June 11 that left some 35 fans injured.

UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, has warned the Russian and English soccer federations about their fans' behavior, threatening to expel their national teams if the violence continues.

UEFA is expected to sanction Russia's federation on June 14.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS
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