No known hooligans have entered Macedonia for England's Euro 2004 qualifier and
No known hooligans have entered Macedonia for England's Euro 2004 qualifier and no incidents have been reported involving English fans, police say...
David Swift, head of the British police delegation, was cautiously optimistic about the behaviour of England supporters before Saturday's Group Seven game in Skopje.
The FA has consistently urged fans not to travel to the game.
Swift told a news conference that, to date, none of the 1,700 troublemakers issued with banning orders, which prevent them from leaving Britain, had been identified at Macedonian border checks.
In addition to those subject to a banning order, Swift said: "None of the individuals who we would normally associate with organising or being significant participants in any form of disorder or trouble have been identified either. That represents a considerable success.
"It does show that the advice of the FA and the British government has been substantially heeded.
"I can't recall there ever being an England game in a foreign country, regardless of how far away it was, with less individuals present from England."
Local authorities have not planned any segregation of fans within the Skopje stadium and all supporters will be searched on their away into the ground.
"Macedonian police have some 1,500 officers available to deploy," Swift revealed. "Their strategy is based on tolerance, understanding and communication, but a preparedness to act if necessary."
British officers have been working alongside Macedonian police at the borders with Bulgaria and Greece, and within Skopje itself.
The FA has also turned down its ticket allocation for England's final qualifier in October in Turkey. Swift made a plea to fans who have made it to Skopje not to contemplate heading for Istanbul. This is vitally important for the safety of everyone concerned and for the future participation of the England team in international competition.
To view the Macedonia v England Match Centre, click here...