December 1 – Thirty-nine people were arrested and four police officers hurt in clashes with Legia Warsaw fans in the build-up to Thursday’s Europa Conference League game at Aston Villa.
Police said they were “faced with disgusting and highly dangerous scenes”, including having flares thrown at them.
Officers with batons and shields were seen trying to regain control of the area while missiles were launched at them as fans of the Polish side attempted to force their way through barriers.
The tie eventually went ahead with away fans blocked from entering the stadium over safety fears.
The disorder is believed to have been triggered by tensions over restrictions on the number of away fans allowed.
Police said the allocation for visiting supporters had been reduced to 1,000 tickets on the advice of local emergency services, adding Legia fans had “been involved in previous match day disorder”.
But in a statement posted on its website ahead of the game, the Polish side accused Aston Villa of restricting access despite assurances, calling the move “counterproductive and baseless”. It added that the club’s owner and other senior executives who were due to be at the game were boycotting it in response.
However after the match Chief Inspector Tim Robinson said: “This should have been a great evening of football which was enjoyed by fans from both clubs. Unfortunately, there were appalling scenes which saw away fans dangerously throw flares and other missiles at our officers.”
Aston Villa said in a statement: “In spite of numerous requests for cooperation from Legia Warsaw concerning their travelling supporters, especially in the last two days, no assistance on the serious safety matter of away fans attending Villa Park was forthcoming from the visiting club.
“The club has repeatedly, including this morning, raised concerns in conjunction with Uefa and all the relevant authorities to Legia that ticketless away supporters were attempting to attend Villa Park.”
Aston Villa won the Group E tie 2-1.
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