MX23RW : Monday, December 17 13:17:30

FSF executive Kevin Miles: Croatia stadium ban punishes innocent England fans

Croatia are serving a stadium ban thanks to a UEFA sanction.

Football Supporters’ Federation chief executive Kevin Miles believes UEFA’s stadium ban is “punishing the innocent” as England fans suffer the consequences of hosts Croatia’s behaviour.

The coastal city of Rijeka will witness a slice of history on Friday evening as the Three Lions line up in an empty ground for the first time in their history.

The Nations League clash with Croatia sees the hosts complete a stadium ban imposed by UEFA after a swastika was visible on the pitch during their Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy.

Press Association Sport revealed the ban six days after the draw in January, by which point hundreds of fans had already sorted travel for the game and Monday’s match against Spain.

“It is very sad really,” FSF chief executive Miles told Press Association Sport in Rijeka.

“While we all endorse the campaign against racism and want to see all that prejudice and bigotry stamped out of the game, the nature of this punishment against the Croatian FA is also punishing the innocent because England fans haven’t been convicted of anything like that and yet those regular supporters who travel all over the place supporting the team are now locked out of a match and not able to support them.”

As a result, there was naturally a conspicuous lack of English presence in Rijeka on Friday, with the only Three Lions crest on display belonging to Miles.

Around 500 fans have made the trip to Croatia, but the FSF chief executive would be surprised if more than 50 go onto make the two-hour journey from Zagreb to Rijeka for Friday’s game.

Still, some will make the trip undaunted and try their luck at Stadion RNK Rijeka.

“On any other day there are vantage points outside the ground from which you can see from standing on the hillside and see at least half of the pitch, possibly even more,” Miles added.

Croatia v England – UEFA Nations League – Group A4 – Stadion HNK Rijeka
Kevin Miles is among the England supporters who have decided to travel to Rijeka (Tim Goode/PA)

“I think there is a big question mark about whether people will actually be able to take advantage of those vantage points tonight because the police will be keeping a very tight cordon around the ground.

“Like water, England fans seem to get anywhere it is possible to get so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are one or two who get into the ground by fair means or foul but for most people it is a question of finding a decent bar and watching it on the telly.”


Click here for more stories about Kevin Miles

Click here for more stories about England

Share this article now:

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account