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Russian Soccer Fan Leader Claims 'Politicized' Treatment In France

Russian soccer fan association leader Aleksandr Shprygin claims Russians were victims of "politicized" treatment by French police during Euro 2016.

The head of Russia's soccer fan association says that Russian fans were the victims of "politicized" treatment by French authorities at the Euro 2016 tournament.

French police detained 20 Russian fans, including Aleksandr Shprygin, the head of the All-Russian Supporters Association, for fighting with English fans in Marseille on June 11 as England played Russia.

France jailed three of the Russians, giving them sentences of up to two years, and deported most of the others, including Shprygin.

It also jailed several English fans involved in the melee, which left two English fans seriously injured.

"This is a politicized history and is just unacceptable," said Shprygin, claiming that the English fans provoked the fight by insulting Russians and throwing beer bottles at them.

French authorities "said that we went to France with some sort of special mission -- not to support the national team -- but to carry out illegal things. These are lies and its absurd," he said.

"Just look at how the fans of Poland and Hungary are behaving at the Euros -- they are causing trouble and lighting flares. However, all the attention for some reason is on the Russians."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP