Russian fan leader sneaks back to France after deportation | News | DW | 21.06.2016
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Russian fan leader sneaks back to France after deportation

French authorities have arrested fan leader Alexander Shprygin at the Toulouse stadium only days after he was expelled from the country. The Russian fans' representative said he had "crossed the Alps" to get into France.

Shprygin was detained during the game between Russia and Wales on Monday evening, which Russia lost 3-0.

The fan leader's case would be "examined" and dealt with "either administratively or with a judicial procedure," Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

Shprygin's arrest comes only two days after he was expelled from France, alongside 19 other fans who authorities suspect played a role in the violence between Russian and English supporters in Marseille. Several other fans were arrested. He has denied any wrongdoing.

On Monday, Shprygin tweeted images from what appeared to be the Barcelona airport. He added that he had to travel "in a bit of an unusual way, under the cover of darkness." The fans' representative most likely entered French territory by land.

Speaking to the AFP news agency ahead of his arrest, Shprygin told AFP that he "crossed the Alps" to get into the country.

"I am at the match with a ticket," he said. "The French authorities told me I was not deported but just expelled, my Schengen visa has not been cancelled and all the stamps are there. So I can legally be in the European Union."

However, the Interior Ministry spokesman said that his visa had indeed been cancelled and that he had been banned from entering France.

Undesirable in France

Many observers allege Shprygin has ties both in the government and in the far right scene. He is also a member of the Russian government commission overseeing Moscow's preparations for the 2018 World Cup.

Last week's arrests caused a diplomatic incident between Russia and France, with the Kremlin calling the move "unjustifiable."

After Shprygin's arrest on Monday, Russian embassy spokesman Sergei Parinov said Russian diplomats were monitoring the situation.

"As soon as he started tweeting about being at the stadium, he was immediately detected and detained at the scene, most likely to transport him out of France tomorrow," Parinov said.

"France, as a sovereign country, has the right to tell any foreign citizen that his staying on its territory is undesirable," he added.

dj/kms (AFP, AP)

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