The UEFA Europa Conference League game between Aston Villa and Legia Warszawa took a turn south as the visiting fans initiated violence outside Villa Park that left a few West Midlands police officers injured. The attack from the fans started after they were denied entry into the stadium due to some ticketing issues.
Missiles in the form of bottles and flares were thrown at the police authorities, and three of the officers were injured. The match, despite the chaos outside the stadium, started on time, was played out without any further issues, and resulted in a 2-1 win for the home team. However, no away fans were allowed inside the stadium.
Legia Warszawa fans attack Aston Villa supporters
Legia Warszawa fans and their antics in the West Midlands on Thursday were not the first time they were seen clashing. In their away game against AZ Alkmaar in October, two Legia players were arrested which led to clashes, and similar behavior has been repeated against Villa by fans.
Clashes between fans and police authorities have become frequent in the recent past and have happened in bigger stages, like in the game between Brazil and Argentina last month.
The ticket allocation for visiting fans was reduced by Villa after Legia fans clashed in the Netherlands during their game against Alkmaar. Despite the decision to reduce the allocation, the away fans still arrived in full force. After the excess number of fans were denied entry, violence broke out as some Villa fans clashed with police officials
Missiles were thrown by the visiting supporters, turning the environment so hostile that Villa had to send all away fans out of the stadium, irrespective of whether they held a ticket or not. This led to full-blown hostility, and about 40 people were arrested by the end.
Aston Villa releases club statement
Aston Villa are in the top six in the Premier League and are also topping their UECL group. and would hope to go all the way to succeed their fellow English team West Ham in lifting this European piece of silverware. However, the morale of the fans and the players tends to go down when there is a hostile atmosphere around the club.
Taking note of what happened on Thursday, Aston Villa officially stated that no away fans were allowed in the match on the advice of West Midlands Police following large-scale disorder outside the stadium caused by visiting supporters.
They went on to condemn such acts and wrote, “Legia fans engaged in planned and systematic violent acts against West Midlands Police officers and a decision was then made by West Midlands Police to exclude all Legia supporters.”
Fans around the world have been left shocked by such hostile behavior; however, Legia fans believe they have been treated unfairly by Aston Villa. Legia have lodged a complaint against Villa for not complying with contractual promises, and it is likely that UEFA will have to take up the issue.
Is the behavior of the Legia fans justified considering the ticketing issue? Let us know your take on this.