Officials play down tensions between England and Ukrainian fans

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Officials play down tensions between England and Ukrainian fans

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Security has been tightened ahead of tonight’s Euro2012 match between England and Ukraine in Donetsk.

Although 4,000 England fans are flying in from the UK, the 50,000 capacity stadium in Donetsk is expected to be full to brimming with mostly home supporters.

The UK has sent a delegation of 18 police officers to the city to provide support for England fans but also to head-off potential trouble.

But while fears of tensions between rival supporters have been well publicised, British officers say they are there to ensure England fans stay safe.

Some supporters were angry that a British TV report had played up fears about travelling to Ukraine alleging widespread racism and the potential for violence.

“I’m really disapointed that no more England fans have come over here, because we’ve obviously had no trouble,” said one supporter. “We’ve been on the streets dressed like this, nobody has caused us any problems, there has been no racism.”

As Donetsk is difficult to reach by air, many loyal England supporters made overnight train journeys from the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Hours before kickoff, euronews’ correspondent in Donetsk Sergio Cantone said: “As you can see, there’s no sign of tension or violence so far, as both England and Ukrainian supporters hang out together. But maybe tonight’s result will decide whether relations stay so amicable.”