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FOOTBALL

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage

French prosecutors on Friday called for a 15-year prison sentence for one of two Russians accused of beating a British supporter during Euro 2016, an attack that left him with brain injuries.

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage
Russian fans light flares at the match against England in 2016.. Photo: AFP

One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, asked for the “legal maximum… between 14 and 15 years” for Pavel Kossov, who is accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Andrew Bache.

Bache was injured in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in the southern French port city of Marseille on June 11th, 2016.

The second Russian on trial in Aix-en-Provence, Mikhail Ivkine, stands accused of throwing a chair at the victim, with prosecutors asking for a potential suspended sentence of up to five years.

He has claimed he was defending himself.

“No, it wasn't legitimate self-defence, it was illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” Raffin said of the violence.

 

Police give emergency aid to Andrew Bache following clashes in the city of Marseille. Photo: AFP

The prosecutors said the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training, who wrought havoc in Marseille.

Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and is too frail to attend the trial.

His son Harry, who nurses his father, is representing him in court.

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TOURISM

Tour de France to go ahead ‘almost behind closed doors’

The Grand Depart of the annual cycling event in Nice on Saturday will take place "almost behind closed doors", the regional authority in Nice announced on Thursday.

Tour de France to go ahead 'almost behind closed doors'
Tour de France spectators must be masked to watch the race.Photo: AFP
France's largest long-distance cycling event will be going ahead despite the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit with some slight changes to the programme.

“Gendarmerie and police will be present to prevent spectators crowding the lanes, we will spread people out,” Bernard Gonzales, Préfet of the Alpes-Maritimes département said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.`

He was flanked by the Mayor of nice Christian Estrosi and Tour boss Christian Prudhomme.

Vehicles would not be allowed in to access the area, the Prefect added.

“The depart will take place in large bubbles.. almost behind closed doors,” Gonzales said, adding that Nice had gone into a “red zone” this morning and that the Tour organisers were not caught off guard.

READ ALSO What does it mean if my département is a red zone?

With the race set to start in just a couple of days, France has seen a spike in coronavirus rates. Health authorities recorded 5,429 new cases of the virus in 24 hours on Wednesday – a tally unseen since mid April when the country was on a strict, nationwide lockdown.

The number of “red zone” départements has risen to 21. A “red zone” is the official designation signifying a high level of spread that gives local authorities extended powers to enforce restrictive measures such as closing down bars and restaurants or restrict access to public transport.
 
 
Nice has imposed mandatory mask-wearing across the city outdoors to cope with the surge in spread.

Tour de France spectators must be masked to watch the race.

Traditionally, Tour de France is held in July, but due to the health crisis the race was postponed to August 29th, when it will kick off in Nice. It finishes in Paris on September 20th.
 
 
The delay was the result of a compromise between the organisers and the French government after a spat in March when Sports Minister Roxana Maracineaunu suggested that the Tour could go ahead without a public.

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