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Opinion: Violence in Lille unacceptable, but not the full picture

Germany’s opening game of Euro 2016 was overshadowed by violence in the center of Lille beforehand, but in truth there were far more positive than negative images.

There were

needless scenes of hooliganism

in the center of Lille before Germany's match against Ukraine, and worse for Euro2016 is the fact they weren't the first of the tournament. While this behavior was and always will be unacceptable, there was also plenty of positive interaction between Germany and Ukraine fans in Lille Sunday – not that you would have read that in the headlines.

As a media, we have a responsibility to do more than just report the bad. The actions of a minority yesterday in Lille were shameful and have no place in society, let alone in football, but many other fans enjoyed their day and had stories to tell.

Outside the stadium, I spoke to Oliver. He was at the game with three of his friends, who, after 20 years of not having seen each other, decided to go to the Euros. The initial idea was sent in an email and two years later, one of Oli's friends simply replied: "We're going."

In between apologizing for his friends amusing antics, Oli told me: "It's happening. We used to be in a band together and after 20 years of not having seen each other, we're here, exchanging stories and watching Germany. How awesome is that? That's what the football is all about." I couldn't help but agree.

I asked about the violence in the city center and remarkably, Oli told me he was sat next to the group who were involved. One moment he and his friends were sat there, the next a man sat next to him was pulling on a mask and throwing punches. Both Oli's group and the England fans they were sat with were baffled by what they saw as they ran to safety. Questions could be asked as to why there was initially a lack of policing in the city center.

On the train towards the stadium though, the picture was very different. Ukrainian fans in the metro started singing songs, and then invited the Germans to sing one back. As I made my way through the turnstiles, I saw a group of both fans denouncing a certain Russian politician with a cheerful melody.

The Euros have a special job to do this year, for both France and Europe. It's an opportunity for this community to come together in the name of sport and create a positive atmosphere that can help us move forward once the tournament is over. UEFA must act to make sure

the minorities making the front page

don't paint the wrong picture, but so far they've certainly not spoiled the party for the majority.

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