• International football

Hodgson hopeful England fans will behave

ESPN staff
May 28, 2013

England manager Roy Hodgson has urged fans of the Three Lions not to sing offensive songs during Wednesday's friendly against the Republic of Ireland.

Hodgson penned a message, part of an email from the Football Association which will be sent to all fans attending the match, as part of an attempt to avoid the horrific scenes of the abandoned meeting between the two sides in 1995.

On that occasion, England fans began rioting at Lansdowne Road, forcing officials to call the match off after just 27 minutes, and the chant 'No surrender (to the IRA)' was a preemptive part of those clashes.

In his message, Hodgson called for a civil atmosphere at Wembley.

"Ahead of the Ireland fixture, on behalf of the FA, I would like to ask our supporters to please respect our opponents and welcome them in the right way," the manager wrote in the email.

"Wembley is considered the world over as the home of football and we ask those attending to not take part in any chanting - particularly of a religious or political perspective - which could cause offence to our visitors or fellow fans."

Hodgson will also ask England fans to refrain from such chants in his programme notes for the match, which is close to a 90,000 sell-out. Ten thousand Ireland fans are expected to travel to London, although the Football Association of Ireland is not expected to issue a similar statement.

"It goes without saying that you want fans to respect all opponents - in particular, with this being such an important part of our jubilee year," Hodgson added at his pre-match press conference. "I was very happy to send out the letter, I am very happy with everything the FA has done to try and make sure that the game is played in the right spirit - I know it will be on the field - and I hope that both our fans and the Irish fans show the right level of respect."

The FA received a letter from FIFA following England's World Cup qualifying win in San Marino in March after fans allegedly sang a song suggesting Rio and Anton Ferdinand should be burned on a bonfire.

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