Aston Villa have confirmed that the club have laucnhed an official complaint to UEFA regarding to violent scenes prior to kick-off against Legia Warsaw on Thursday night.
West Midlands Police said there were ’46 people in custody following last night’s violence involving away fans’ and that officers had experienced ’90 minutes of sustained violence’ that left four injured.
One officer who was engulfed by flames after being hit by a flare suffered burns and has since been recovering in hospital.
In a statement on the club website, they said: ‘Aston Villa can confirm it has lodged an official complaint with UEFA over the conduct of Legia Warsaw Football Club and the behaviour of their supporters prior to last night’s UEFA Europa Conference League match at Villa Park.
‘This shocking behaviour followed Legia club officials’ complete lack of cooperation with West Midlands Police, Aston Villa and UEFA throughout the day.
Aston Villa have confirmed that the club have laucnhed an official complaint to UEFA
Football hooligans from Polish side Legia Warsaw attacked police officers outside Villa Park
One police officer was hit by a flare thrown by the hooligans and was engulfed by flames
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‘It started during the standard pre-match operational meeting that commenced at 10.30am on Thursday morning and was attended by UEFA representatives, including UEFA’s security team, as well as West Midlands Police including representatives from both clubs. Legia Warsaw refused to confirm if they would accept their allocation of tickets for the match at that point. This is in stark contrast to normal UEFA operational procedures.
‘They advised the meeting that they would meet with their supporters at 2.30pm and communicate the decision at 3pm but advised there was a possibility that they would not accept the tickets.
‘Despite repeated requests before and after the 3pm deadline for a decision, there was no communication until 4pm when Legia informed Aston Villa that they wished to receive their ticket allocation.
‘These tickets were handed to Legia officials immediately upon their arrival at the stadium at 6.16pm. To reiterate, Legia officials were advised on a call that included a number of UEFA representatives on November 2 that they would receive an allocation of 1002 – exactly four weeks prior to last night’s fixture’.
Chris Heck, President of Business Operations at Aston Villa, said: ‘The lack of cooperation and prevarication from Legia Warsaw officials prior to the match was entirely unacceptable and deeply disappointing.
‘This behaviour increased the danger that West Midlands Police officers and our own fans were subjected to before the game and the scenes of disorder from the Legia fans have no place in modern football or civilised society.
‘Aston Villa will be making further representations to UEFA in order to ensure that other clubs and police forces across Europe are not exposed to similar serious safety risks at the hands of Legia Warsaw.
There were no away fans inside Villa Park when the game got underway at 8pm
West Midlands Police confirmed four officers were injured following the ugly scenes
Police urged members of the public to ‘avoid Witton Lane where possible’ after the clashes
‘We are immensely grateful to West Midlands Police for keeping our supporters and our local community safe last night and are pleased that they will also be making their own representations via the UK police authorities to UEFA.’
UEFA are investigating and a spokesman said: ‘UEFA strongly condemns the unacceptable violence which occurred around the Aston Villa v Legia Warsaw match. UEFA is in the process of gathering all official reports from the game before deciding on potential next steps.’
The fans forced their way in after West Midland’s Police posted on social media that they were not letting any Legia fans inside the stadium.
The force tweeted: ‘We’re currently unable to allow away fans into Villa Park following disorder outside the stadium which has seen missiles thrown at officers.
‘Three officers have already been injured & a significant policing operation continues. Please avoid Witton Lane where possible.’
In an official statement from Legia, they accused Villa of refusing to allocate tickets to away fans in accordance with UEFA regulations for a UEFA Europa Conference League match.
‘Instead of diffusing potential pre-match tensions, restrictive measures of Aston Villa F.C. as the host club needlessly exacerbate the atmosphere. In our view, such measures are counterproductive and unfounded,’ they wrote.
‘In a recent development, Aston Villa FC has firmly declined to adhere to UEFA competition regulations by refusing to allocate the stipulated pool of tickets for visiting supporters.
‘Legia Warsaw had put forward a compromise solution, proposing an allocation of 1,700 tickets for their loyal supporters—a figure mirroring the number allocated to English club fans journeying to Warsaw. This proposal was officially accepted and duly documented in the UEFA delegate’s report, dated September 21.
‘In light of this agreement, Legia Warsaw’s supporters commenced their preparations for the journey across the English Channel, incurring various costs, including airline tickets and hotel reservations.
‘However, on November 2, Legia Warsaw received an unexpected and revised decision regarding the ticket allocation, which blatantly disregarded the prior agreements. The number of tickets was slashed to a mere 890, representing a staggering reduction of over 50%.
‘Faced with this untenable situation, Legia Warsaw has lodged repeated appeals with Aston Villa F.C., urging them to honour the regulations set forth on September 21.’
More to follow…