French fan hurt in clash with Serbian supporters dies

30th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

A French football fan who got hurt after a fight with Serbian supporters in Belgrade died in hospital on Tuesday, a hospital spokesman said.

Brice Taton, 28, a Toulouse follower, sustained brain damage after fans of opposition side Partizan Belgrade attacked French supporters in a bar on 17 September.

The football fan died at 10h00 local time on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Belgrade hospital, Drago Jovanovic said in a statement.

"Taton had irreversible brain damage and prior to the death a sudden weakening of all vital functions occurred," the statement said.

Taton was one of two Toulouse supporters hurt before their team's 3-2 Europa League victory over the Belgrade side.

He underwent surgery twice and had been in a critical condition. The second French fan was released from hospital after treatment.

Belgrade police have arrested 10 people on suspicion of involvement in the fight.

Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas declared a day of mourning in the Serbian capital for Thursday, while the ministry for human rights and minorities called for a protest against violence to be held.

Serbian President Boris Tadic said that the suspects would face "the most serious and severe reaction of the Serbian state to that event."

"I express my condolences to his family," said Tadic, on a two day visit to Slovenia, the first by a Serb leader since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

A district court in Belgrade said that it had ordered an autopsy of the victim and all medical files related to the case as well as Interior Ministry video records of the incident, spokeswoman Ivana Ramic told AFP.

Meanwhile Belgrade football club Partizan expressed condolences for Taton's death.

"Brice Taton is not with us anymore. He is leaving Belgrade in a coffin, and we, ashamed, remain here to face ourselves and all consequences," the club said in a statement on its website. 

Michel Platini, president of European football's governing body UEFA, dubbed Taton's death "tragic" and a "terrible crime".

"Today is a sad day not only for Toulouse FC and French football but also for European football as a whole," Platini said.

"The loss of a fan's life, whose only crime was to travel to an away match to follow his team, is tragic, and we must continue our fight throughout Europe against individuals who use football to carry out acts of random violence.


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