Fears for England fans as football hooligans linked to war crimes descend on Euros

Bogdanov raises his tattooed arm in the air while wearing a balaclava.

One of Serbia’s most notorious football hooligans Bogdanov cutting the fence separating rival fans during a Euros 2012 match (Picture: Calanni/AP)

Police are preparing for violence as England meets Serbia in the Lions’ first match at the Euros on Sunday.

A troupe of 500 Serbian ultras are expected to be among a crowd of 40,000 fans travelling to Gelsenkirchen, the city’s police chief Peter Both told The Telegraph.

They be a tiny minority, but this ‘criminal element’ with a fondness for Vladimir Putin has a history of violence, the Mirror reported.

One Serbian fan told the paper: ‘On the pitch you will probably win but off the pitch it’s not a contest. We aren’t afraid of anyone.

‘We learned everything we know from the Italians and the English but they are no match for strong Serbian men.’

Long associated with Serbian nationalism, Europe’s most feared football hooligans have a history of extreme violence.

Delije – the ultras of Red Star Belgrade, or FK Crvena zvezda – formed the bulk of the Serbian Volunteer Guard (SDG), which committed murder, rape and torture in the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

Other members came from the Partizan Gravediggers – Grobari – whose hooliganism saw their team banned from UEFA Cup 2007-08.

Serbian ultras unveil a banner saying ‘Goodbye Globoçica’, a Kosovan town mostly destroyed in the war of independence from Serbia (Picture: EMPICS Sport)

The SDG was formed just months after Red Star met Dynamo Zagreb in Croatia for what would be the last match of the Yugoslav league before the entire state fell apart.

It was abandoned after just 10 minutes as thousands of Delije battled police and Zagreb’s ‘Bad Blue Boys’ in what’s been described as the worst violence in football history, The Observer reported.

Months later, in October 1990, the firm’s leader Zelijko ‘Arkan’ Raznatovic launched the SDG, which quickly became known as Arkan’s Tigers.

The paramilitary group’s violence was unleashed on Croats in Croatia, Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albanians in Kosovo in the wars that followed.

Arkan, a thief already on Interpol’s most-wanted list, had been recruited to lead Delije by Serbia’s former security chief Jovica Stanišić, who’s currently serving a 15-year sentence for crimes against humanity.

Stanišić was convicted in 2021 for his role in plans to ethnically cleans non-Serbs from swathes of the Balkans.

One Red Star supporter who joined the Tigers, before they were absorbed into the Yugoslav Army in 1996, said: ‘I went straight to Arkan’s people in Croatia.

‘As a nationalist I thought it was my duty to be there. At first, I was impressed with the order and the sense of discipline.

‘The training was good and the emphasis on cleansing the Croatians and Muslims from Serb territory was essential.

Serbia’s Delije ultras are among Europe’s most feared football hooligans

‘But I didn’t witness the atrocities that the Western media talk about. I didn’t see much criminal behaviour.’

Arkan himself was charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

But he was shot dead with a bullet in …read more

Source:: Metro


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