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Plans for England World Cup screening axed after quarter-final trouble

England's Ashley Young speaks during the media access at Repino Cronwell Park. PIC: PA
England's Ashley Young speaks during the media access at Repino Cronwell Park. PIC: PA

Plans to screen England’s World Cup semi-final on a big screen in Middlesbrough have been scrapped following trouble during the Three Lions’ quarter-final win.

Police were called in to support staff as fans converged on the big screen in Centre Square to watch the 2-0 win over Sweden.

It had a capacity of 3,000 which was reached well before the 3pm kick off and despite stewards turning away people who were drunk or were trying to smuggle in alcohol, around 500 more people tried to force their way through a fence.

Staff were abused and threatened with violence. And despite searches, fans brought in flares and threw them into the crowd.

Middlesbrough Council said the atmosphere was not helped by technical problems with the screen which caused a transmission delay and a break in the second-half broadcast.

Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said the abuse of staff was unacceptable.

He said: “We have consulted with our colleagues at Cleveland Police, and accept their advice that it would simply not be advisable to screen any further games in this way.”I can only apologise to law-abiding fans, and I would urge those involved in Saturday’s disorder to think long and hard about their behaviour.”