World Cup screenings scrapped after Middlesbrough disorder

Big screen Image copyright Sian Davies
Image caption England's quarter-final clash with Sweden was broadcast in Middlesbrough's Centre Square

World Cup screenings have been cancelled because council staff were subjected to "abuse and threats of violence".

There were "outbreaks of disorder" during the screening of England's game against Sweden in Middlesbrough's Centre Square on Saturday.

Middlesbrough Council said some fans' behaviour "put the safety of families and children in danger".

The ban comes after discussion with Cleveland Police.

Saturday proved one of the police force's "busiest ever nights", it said.

'Completely unacceptable'

The council said the enclosure's maximum capacity of 3,000 "had been reached well before kick-off", with stewards turning away people who were drunk or trying to smuggle in alcohol.

About 500 people remained on the edge of the enclosure after being turned away, with some trying to "force their way through the fence" and subject "staff to a volley of abuse and threats of violence".

A number of flares were smuggled in, and were lit and thrown into the main crowd.

There was at least one injury, the council said.

The council said "matters were not helped" by technical problems with the big screen.

Image copyright Jim Mitcham
Image caption England's match against Colombia was screened on 3 July with no problems

Following discussions with Cleveland Police, the council said it would not broadcast England's semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday.

Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council's executive member for culture and communities, said the usually "family-friendly space" worked well for the match against Colombia on 3 July.

"However the behaviour experienced on Saturday - and in particular the abuse and intimidation aimed at hard-working staff - was completely unacceptable and something we will not tolerate," he said.

"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."

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