Police charge 46 people over riots outside the stadium as Villa and Legia trade blame.
British police say 46 men have been charged after “serious disturbances outside Villa Park” ahead of a Europa Conference League soccer match in which five officers were injured, according to authorities.
“Of these, 43 were charged with a public order offence, two with assault on police officers and another with possession of a knife,” West Midland Police said in a statement on Saturday.
The riots occurred on Thursday before kick-off of a game between Aston Villa and Legia Warsaw. Villa won the game 2-1.
Five police officers suffered minor injuries. Two police dogs and two police horses are also recovering from their injuries.
“The defendants are between 21 and 63 years old, around 40 are said to come from Poland. A small number are believed to be UK residents,” West Midland Police said.
Police said all but one of the men were due to appear in court on Saturday and a special court had been set up at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court to begin hearing the cases on Saturday morning.
Legia Warsaw fans fire flares as they clash with police outside Villa Park [Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters]
On Friday, Aston Villa filed a complaint with UEFA over the behavior of Legia Warsaw officials and the “unprecedented violence” of the Polish team’s fans.
More than 1,000 Polish fans arrived at the stadium but were not given tickets.
The Warsaw club was upset that local officials, who license all stadium events, demanded a reduction in ticket allocation from 1,700 to 1,000 in response to unrest among Legia fans at a game against AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands on October 5.
“As it was not possible to effectively authenticate and distribute tickets, Legia Warsaw returned the tickets to the host club,” Legia Warsaw said in a statement on Saturday.
“We emphasize that none of the people arrested by the police had tickets to the game. We therefore strongly reject Legia Warsaw being held responsible for Thursday’s events in Birmingham.”
In Friday’s statement, Villa said Legia Warsaw had been informed of the ticket allocation details four weeks before the match, adding that the Polish team’s officials had refused to confirm until 4pm on Thursday whether they had their allocation would accept.
Source : www.aljazeera.com