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11th Jun 2024

England fans will have to settle for low alcohol beer at Euro 2024 in ‘high risk’ opener against Serbia

Harry Warner

England fans

German authorities hope to reduce alcohol consumption to avoid repeat of Euro 2016 violence

The beer England fans will be drinking at England’s first Euro 2024 match against Serbia will be a lower alcohol version.

This comes as result of the match being identified as ‘high risk’ due to the reputation and track record of both groups of fans.

The fixture between England and Serbia will take place in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday where, including the low alcohol swap in the stadium, fans will not be able to drink in the stands, according to Sky News.

In an interview with the broadcaster Chief Inspector Christof Burghardt said: “I think it’s a very high-risk game because of the history, because of the hooligans both sides have.”

“Serbia has many hooligans. The English guys, with alcohol, they are sometimes very aggressive. So it’s a great job to do this, to prepare, so that hopefully nothing will happen.”

Police in Gelsenkirchen have been put on high alert for the match at the Veltins Arena with reports suggesting rumours of 500 Serbian hooligans will be looking to incite violence on Saturday.

With 300,000 England fans expected to attend the tournament throughout the month and 40,000 to this one match, Police will be looking to keep all fans safe.

However, this may prove difficult as UEFA have asked security to remove barriers and delegate two-thirds of tickets to mixed areas while both sides are being seated in close proximity.  

Back in March the Foreign Office warned travelling fans that German beer is stronger than what the English might be used to, asking for caution in consumption.

A test run at a Schalke league match before the tournament showed how security will go about ensuring safety in and around the stadium.

Random checks will be employed to search for any weapons or alcohol while CCTV will survey the masses of fans in an effort to pre-empt and avoid any incident.

Organisers of tournament will be looking to avoid any repeat of the antics seen at Euro 2016 where fans from many nations got involved in violence which saw more 1500 arrests made.

Around 22,000 federal police officers will be on duty every day of the tournament with backup from the largest deployment of British officers overseas since Euro 2016.

Euro 2024’s stadiums hold space for 2.3 million fans while the fan zones can accommodate 12 million, leaving the German police with plenty of heads to watch over.

German police will continue to use their low-alcohol beer tactic with any game throughout the tournament they consider ‘high-risk’.

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