French police were forced to use tear gas as fighting broke out in Marseille on Thursday night between England fans and local youths on the eve of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Video images on BFM TV showed punches, chairs and tables being thrown between the two groups before police intervened.
The trouble broke out at the end of the evening near the O'Malley's Irish pub, in the Old Port area, where around 200 England fans had been drinking. It is believed a group of several dozen local youths confronted the fans.
The French Interior Ministry said two people were arrested.
According to some reports drunken England fans had chanted “Isis where are you” at local youths in reference to the Islamist extremist terror group which claimed responsibility for the November terror attacks in Paris.
England play Russia in the city on Saturday and authorities in France have long been concerned about the match, given the heightened terror threat surrounding the tournament but they were also worried about a repeat of the ugly scenes the last time England played in Marseille during a tournament.
— UEFA EURO 2016 (@EurosUEFA) June 10, 2016
Fans were involved in several days of rioting when their team played Tunisia in Marseille during the 1998 World Cup.
Back then fans clashed with both local youths, Tunisian fans and French police. Many considered the game should never have been held in a city.
In an interview with The Local last month, France's anti-hooligan police chief told The Local that yobs travelling from England looking for trouble would not be welcome in France.
“Anyone who comes to France with bad intentions is not welcome,” Commissaire Antoine Boutonnet said.
“It’s not worth coming. That’s clear.”
British authorities recently wrote to around 2,000 known English troublemakers warning them to hand over their passports or risk prosecution.
Those on the black list are subject to banning orders in the UK. Police in the UK will launch a major operation at ports and airports in the days leading up to Euro 2016 to stop known thugs from travelling to France.
“Anyone who has been banned from stadiums in England will be staying in England. They won’t be coming to France,” Boutonnet said.
“It’s clear our aim is avoid these people coming to France in the first place and we have asked our colleagues from other countries to make sure these supporters are not allowed to travel to France.