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German TV stations protest UEFA censorship of Russia-England footage

Two German TV stations have complained about UEFA censorship after the governing body failed to supply footage of clashes between Russia and England supporters at the end of Saturday's Euro 2016 match.

A large group of Russian fans in a stand behind England's goal advanced on the neighbouring Three Lions section following the 1-1 draw, throwing objects and breaking through a line of stewards, who were outnumbered and offered little resistance. 

ARD and ZDF, which hold the Euro 2016 broadcasting rights in Germany, have complained that the worldwide TV feed produced by UEFA did not show the turmoil on the stands, leaving commentators to cover the incidents without any footage.

"We want to have access to all footage. That is our stance," Jorg Schonenborn, the team director for ARD at the European Championship, said in Tagesschau.

"That's why we have demanded that UEFA ensure this. Essentially, it is about credibility. It won't wash when important events are cut out."

Schonenborn acknowledged that it might not be possible to immediately show all footage on the live feed but said: "The material needs to be provided directly after the broadcast."

ZDF had the rights to screen the match live on Saturday and the broadcaster's sport director, Dieter Gruschwitz, told dpa: "We'd like to think that we get all relevant footage. This not only includes what happens on the pitch but also everything that happens off the pitch.

"We were not satisfied with the footage we received after the final whistle of the England versus Russia match. We've made this very clear."

UEFA -- which has handed Russia a suspended disqualification and a €150,000 fine in response to incidents on Saturday -- had said at the weekend that it did not want "scenes of violence" to be shown on TV.

It added that the German TV stations could have shown the incidents with their own cameras had they wished to do so.

However, given the additional costs, ZDF did not have its own cameras at the stadium.

Gruschwitz told dpa: "UEFA's line of argumentation is formally correct, but we only have a sufficient number of TV cameras to cover everything at the Germany games."

ARD, which screened highlights on Sunday, did create its own footage of the incidents, which can still be seen in the network's media library, and Schonenborn said the network would do all it could to "document those incidents with our teams and cameras."

Meanwhile, German police are appealing for people to come forward with video recordings of violence involving suspected German hooligans before their country's opening match in Lille.

The Federal Criminal Police Office on Tuesday called for witnesses to submit material via its website and said the portal will remain in place for other games at the tournament.

Authorities have said that two people were slightly injured in Lille on Sunday during violence involving supporters from Germany and Ukraine. The incidents took place hours before Germany beat Ukraine 2-0 in the northern city. 

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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