Euro 2024: FA urges England fans to be 'tribute to their country'

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English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has urged England fans to "be a tribute to their country" this weekend amid policing concerns as Germany prepares for up to 500,000 supporters to flood in during Euro 2024.

Sunday's Group C opener against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen has been declared "high-risk" by tournament organisers on security grounds.

Only low-alcohol beer will be served at the stadium with authorities concerned by both historic incidents of violence involving England fans and a group of around 500 Serbian hooligans police believe are intent on causing trouble.

Bullingham sought to highlight the positives from England's last involvement in a tournament on German soil -- the 2006 World Cup -- when although there were hundreds of arrests made around England matches, World Cup spokesman Gerd Graus claimed they "created a great atmosphere" and were "the world champions of partying."

Speaking near England's team base in Blankenhain on Wednesday, Bullingham said: "Over the last few years our England fans have been absolutely brilliant support to us, particularly in the stadium.

"There are a lot of people going to come out here. The best thing that the fans can do to help us do well in this tournament is be a tribute to their country. We want them to do that, reminding them that in 2006 we were the fans of the tournament. They were brilliant then," Bullingham said.

"We've got all the environment to do that. The German police have proved they are really good at policing football tournaments so there's no reason why that shouldn't be the case again. But really the main message is: get behind the team and support in the right way."

Police believe as many as 500,000 fans supporting either England or Scotland could travel to Germany this summer, a demand fuelled by the relative geographical inaccessibility of recent tournaments in Qatar and Russia.

"I've even heard larger numbers than that," Bullingham said. "That's the number the police quoted really early on, quite whether anyone will even know after the tournament whether that's the right number or not, I don't know.

"But there will be a lot of fans and a lot of fans who haven't travelled before because the last couple of tournaments away, we've had less than 5,000 fans so it is a different dynamic.

"But our fans have been really good in the last couple of years, brilliant support for us and we hope that continues."

In an effort to tackle social media abuse, the FA together with the British police are helping fund a unit to prosecute individuals found guilty of online hate.

Police chiefs met with the England squad in March to update players on the latest developments after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were racially abused following missed penalties in England's Euro 2020 final shootout defeat to Italy.

"We obviously talk to them about that all the time, now we are doing things differently," said Bullingham. "In the past what we did was put together all the data, effectively an evidence pack, to give to the police to prosecute but this time we have gone a stage further where we are actually funding, within the British Police, a unit that will then prosecute.

"What we don't want to do is create a pack that we then give to the police for them to prosecute but they don't have the resource to actually take that forward. So we are actually paying for the prosecution to then happen and funding the police to make sure if there are instances of some examples we have seen before, that they got prosecuted."