England followers instructed do not point out the warfare at Euros – or be frog-marched to an ATM

England fans have been warned ‘don’t mention the war’ at the Euro 2024 finals in Germany – or risk being frog-marched to a cashpoint to pay an unlimited fine.

German police chiefs said they will take a ‘zero tolerance’ stance to offensive chants about World War 2.

Officers will have the power to dish out on-the-spot fines to yobs caught singing sick songs or making offensive gestures.

Culprits can be instantly convicted of public order offences, marched to an ATM and – with a police officer standing over them – ordered to withdraw cash to pay a fine there and then.

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Senior Chief Supt Oliver Strudthoff, of the National Football Information Point in Germany, said: “It can be quite expensive. It depends what you have done. There is no maximum.”

He said officers would not mind good-natured football banter and understood England fans – like their German counterparts – like a few beers before matches.

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England fans will be having it large in Germany
England fans will be having it large in Germany – but there’s a few things they shouldn’t do!

But he said anti-German songs about the war would not be tolerated.

“In Germany you have to respect the culture and the war is part of the history of the country,” he said. There is a difference between how you react to chanting that is impolite or if you are doing things that maybe offensive to Germans. It depends on what you’re singing.

“What is allowed in Germany and elsewhere maybe different Fans need to be aware of this. If England fans break the rules we have zero tolerance to react to this.”

Chief Supt Colette Rose, of Greater Manchester Police, said she witnessed war chants – and the ATM march – when she visited Germany for a Champions League match as part of pre-tournament preparations.

Please don't mention the war
Please don’t mention the war – like Basil famously did here

“When we went out to Munich last time we did see some of that behaviour. It was disappointing,” she said. “My colleagues were able to get into the fans and go and speak to them and give them advice in the first instance which is what we did.

“The vast majority of people heeded that advice. There were others that continued and they were taken to those cashpoints and came back significantly lighter in their wallets.”

She said she will lead a hand-picked team of Brit officers who will be at matches to help England stay out of trouble.

“They police football up and down the country week-in, week-out. They understand our fans. They understand the rituals that they have before games and how they behave,” she said.

“We are hoping they help the Germans interpret that behaviour so they understand they like to have a drink, they like to chant, make a lot of noise and enjoy the exciting atmosphere.

England fans
England fans are looking forward to a German visit

“That doesn’t necessarily translate into criminal behaviour. We want to make sure policing is as best as possible and proportionate to that behaviour.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council football lead Mark Roberts said German officers were ‘reasonably tolerant’.

“But when people behave in a grossly offensive way they are arrested,” he said. “Our German colleagues will march you straight to the cashpoint. If you’re fined you’re fined. You’re going to the cashpoint and you’re paying it. People know when they’re being grossly offensive.

“People know the sort of actions that cause offence. We should just be a good guest and respect the culture.”

Up to 500,000 England and Scotland fans are expected to travel to next month’s tournament – many without tickets.

England’s 10,000 allocation for the three group games are already sold out.

German police
German police will be on the look out for troublemakers

Up to 15,000 tickets are expected to be made available for the knockout stages should the teams progress.

Police said 2,000 trouble-makers subject to football-banning orders will have their passports confiscated to stop them travelling to Germany.

Chief Constable Roberts said the tournament would be the most accessible for home fans since Euro 2016 in France – when England supporters were ambushed by organised gangs of Russian hooligans in the south coast port city of Marseille.

But he said the last few major tournaments abroad had only resulted in a handful of England fan arrests – with none at all at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“The behaviour of England fans at tournaments has generally been excellent,” he said.

Police are expecting those watching back in Britain to cause them more problems.

The last five major tournaments triggered 1,302 arrests in the UK – with 599 detained during the Euro 2020 which was played in England.

Can England win the Euros
Can England win the Euros? They’ve got a great chance

The England team’s head of security Steve Lewis: “Everybody who travels will be ambassadors for our country.

“We know they are going to be good hosts and we just need to be good guests. All the matches are heavily over-subscribed so there will a big following of our support.

“We just have to support the team in the right way and behave in the right way.”

Thomas Concannon, Premier League network manager for the Football Supporters’ Association which has produced a fans’ guide for the tournament, said: “English fans love going to Germany.

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“It’s a popular destination for football. It’s a great country to be in anyway but even better for football culture. We’re very excited to go out there and have a good time.

“The number that will travel will be quite high because it’s the first tournament in a generation that people have been able to travel to en masse.

“We’re really excited about that. We’re very proud of that behaviour that we’ve had abroad.”