Brawling English Soccer Fans Leave Town
Jun. 19, 1988
FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ Hundreds of raucous English soccer fans have left town after three nights of trashing taverns, breaking windows and waging drunken street brawls with fans from other countries, police said Sunday.
Authorities in Munich, meanwhile, said a group of West Germans who incited some of the violence were part of an organized gang that travels to major events to cause trouble.
More than 800 people were arrested in six West German cities since the European soccer championships began on June 10.
But officials said many of the English fans returned to Britain after their team was eliminated with a 3-1 loss Saturday to the Soviet Union.
''There are no rowdies in the streets. They've left the city,'' Frankfurt police spokesman Axel Dorff told The Associated Press. The hard-core English troublemakers were estimated to number 300 to 400.
British fans broke up taverns, attacked patrons and chanted ''God Save the Queen'' as they roamed through the streets of the Sachsenhausen district and near the train station.
English fans attacked two motorists stopped at red lights and forced many city residents to stay away from areas where clashes with fans of other teams were taking place.
Intoxicated British and German soccer fans roamed the area near the city's main train station overnight following the Soviet Union's win.
Drunken soccer fans started tearing up two bars at around midnight, but police quickly arrived and restored peace, officials said.
''Rowdies tore out a beer tap in one of the bars. The bartender turned off the lights and called the police,'' said another Frankfurt police spokesman, Kurt Kraus.
Police picked up 76 British and 22 German rowdies overnight, but most had been freed, Kraus said Sunday.
About 200 people, most of them English, were arrested during three nights of disturbances in Frankfurt.
Earlier, the English fans had left behind a trail of arrests and broken beer bottles in Stuttgart, Cologne and Duesseldorf. The body of an Irish fan was fished from the Main River in Frankfurt on Thursday night. Police said he apparently drowned while intoxicated.
While most of the attention was focused on the English, authorities also pointed the finger at West Germans, including 16 right-wing extremists arrested Saturday in Frankfurt.
On Sunday, Munich police said an organized ''horde of several hundred traveling thugs'' from three West German cities has also been going from match to match instigating violence.
''These thugs seek out important events only for the purpose of causing trouble,'' said Munich police spokesman Georg Schratzenstaller.
Schratzenstaller said the traveling groups of West German troublemakers were mostly from Cologne, Nuremberg and Gelsenkirchen.
A total of 120 rowdies were arrested in Munich on Friday, and many belonged to that group, Schratzenstaller said.
The next round in the European Soccer Championships is slated for Tuesday in Hamburg. West Germany plays the Netherlands in a semifinal match.
The violence by English fans already has prompted England to withdraw its application for readmission to European club soccer tournaments next season.
English clubs were banned after the 1985 Heysel stadium tragedy in Belgium in which 39 people, most of them Italians, were killed in violence sparked by English soccer fans.