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France To Expel Russian Soccer Fan Chief Over Euro 2016 Violence

Russian Supporters Union chief Aleksandr Shprygin
Russian Supporters Union chief Aleksandr Shprygin

The leader of the Russian soccer supporters' association is being expelled from France following violence during the Euro 2016 tournament.

French officials and the Russian Supporters Union said on June 16 that Aleksandr Shprygin is among 20 Russian fans to be expelled over the coming days.

They are from a group of 43 detained by police on June 14 following last week's violence at the England-Russia match in Marseille.

Also on June 16, a French court jailed three other detained Russian supporters for up to two years for their role in the June 11 violence.

The arrests angered Moscow, which summoned the French ambassador to protest.

Separately, French prosecutors said three Russian supporters will be tried -- the first from their country to face justice for their role in the June 11 violence.

The Russian Supporters Union has a prominent role in organizing Russian fans at Euro 2016. It chartered a plane for fans flying to France for the tournament.

Its head, Shprygin, is close to Russia's ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and is an aide to Igor Lebedev, a deputy chairman of the State Duma and son of the LDPR's founder, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Overall, the French Interior Ministry said more than 320 people have been detained throughout the first week of Euro 2016, 196 jailed, eight convicted, and 24 expelled from France.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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