World Cup screening in Middlesbrough CANCELLED after weekend disorder

Middlesbrough Centre Square - where the semi-final was supposed to be screened
Middlesbrough Centre Square - where the semi-final was supposed to be screened

Football fans in Middlesbrough will be unable to watch England's World Cup semi-final on a town centre big screen - after the decision was made to cancel the area's fanzone.

The Three Lions reached the final four of the competition courtesy of a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday afternoon - with supporters in Middlesbrough able to watch the game via a big screen situated in Centre Square.

But there will be no such offering for Wednesday evening's meeting with Croatia with Middlesbrough Council making the decision to cancel the screening following reports of disorder during Saturday's game.

In a statement released this afternoon, the council said that staff were threatened and verbally abused while supporters watch the Sweden game.

The council also claimed that there were attempts from residents to break through fences once capacity at the venue had been reached.

Such disorder led to Cleveland Police advising the organisers against broadcasting the semi-final clash - and the decision has now been made to cancel the big screen showing.

Similar big screens, situated in Sunderland and Newcastle, have been well-received and the Middlesbrough fanzone was also well-attended.

But Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for culture and communities, said that the disruption caused by a minority meant that the screen will have to be removed from the family-friendly venue.

And he urged supporters involved to reflect on their actions, adding that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

"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," he said.

“Centre Square is one of the region’s best venues, and a great family-friendly space for local, regional and national events.

“We wanted to give England fans the opportunity to follow the team’s progress, and this worked well for Tuesday’s game against Colombia.

“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.

“This behaviour put the safety of families and children in danger, and in at least one instance resulted in injury."