German police say they have detained a Russian football hooligan wanted over a brutal attack at Euro 2016. An English supporter was left half-paralyzed after the assault.
A Russian football hooligan wanted by French authorities over an attack on an English fan ahead of a Euro 2016 match in Marseille between Russia and England has been arrested at the airport in the southern German city of Munich, police said on Thursday.
The 31-year-old suspect could face up to 15 years in jail in France for attempted homicide and grievous bodily harm. The 51-year-old England fan who was attacked, Andrew Bache, was left paralyzed on the left-hand side of his body after being hit around the head with an iron bar.
French authorities had been seeking the suspect, who is accused of carrying out the attack with several other hooligans, for months.
The man was detained en route to the northern Spanish city of Bilbao. He was traveling there for Spartak Moscow's away game in the Europa League on Thursday evening. The Russian embassy in Germany confirmed that a Moscow-born man born in 1986 had been arrested.
German prosecutor Joachim Ettenhofer said the suspect could be extradited to France in two weeks.
Fears of a repeat
The arrest comes just months before Russia hosts the World Cup from June 14 to July 15. Many in the football world are concerned that the series could see a repeat of the brutal behavior by Russian hooligans in Marseille, where clashes ahead of the Russia-England Group B match on June 11, 2016, left 35 people injured, including Bache and another England fan who was left seriously wounded. There were also serious altercations in the stands after the game.
France jailed three Russians and deported more than 20 others over the violence. Russia also received a formal warning from football world body UEFA that it would be thrown out of Euro 2016 over the incident.
At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to play down the gravity of the violence, even joking at an economic forum that he was surprised at "how 200 of our fans could beat up several thousand English."
The group stage match ended in a 1-1 draw; England qualified from the group only to be eliminated by Iceland, while Russia was knocked out in the group phase.