LIVERPOOL, England – Police arrested a known soccer hooligan at John Lennon Airport on Thursday and stopped him from leaving the country in case he was headed to the World Cup.
British police have the power to prevent any convicted hooligans from going to the World Cup in Germany, which begins Friday. The man was arrested under the Football Disorder Act.
The man arrested Thursday was identified only as a 35-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers fan, from Cannock in central England. Police did not release his name.
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The fan had a ticket to Amsterdam, but the Netherlands borders Germany. England faces Paraguay in its first group game in Frankfurt on Saturday.
After English fans rioted at the 1998 World Cup in France and the 2000 European Championship in Belgium and the Netherlands, the British government created new laws to stop convicted hooligans from leaving the country to watch the team play.
British police ordered 3,500 hooligans to surrender their passports prior to this month's World Cup. So far, 180 of those have not done so.
Police in Frankfurt estimated that around 40,000 English fans — most of them without tickets — are traveling to the city for Saturday's game. British police are on duty in Frankfurt along with their German counterparts.