- There were clashes between police and Legia Warsaw fans outside Villa Park
- 46 Legia Warsaw fans were charged and UEFA are investigating the incident
- Big Ange has lost three in a row, but no chance he changes his style: It’s All Kicking Off
West Midlands Police have confirmed 46 men have been charged following violent scenes outside of Villa Park ahead of Aston Villa’s game with Legia Warsaw on Thursday.
On Friday, the force had said 46 people were in custody ‘following last night’s violence involving away fans’ and that officers had experienced ’90 minutes of sustained violence’ that left five 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, they said: ‘We’ve charged 46 men over Thursday night’s violence outside Villa Park.
Football hooligans from Polish side Legia Warsaw attacked police officers outside Villa Park
West Midlands Police confirmed 46 men had been charged following the violent scenes
One police officer was hit by a flare thrown by the hooligans and was engulfed by flames
Aston Villa confirmed on Friday that the club have launched an official complaint to UEFA
‘Of those, 43 have been charged with a public order offence, while two have been charged with assaulting police officers and another has been charged with possession of a knife.’
Their statement went onto confirm all suspects charged are between the ages of 21 and 63, with 40 believed to be from Poland, while a small number were UK residents.
A special court has been set up to begin hearing the cases at Birmingham magistrates and 45 of the 46 were due to appear there today, with one individual bailed until a later date.
They also confirmed that along with the five officers injured – two of whom came from West Midlands Police, two from West Mercia Police and one from Derbyshire Police – two dogs and two horses were hurt and are currently recovering.
Detective Superintendent Jim Munro – who is overseeing the investigation – added: ‘Our investigation is very much continuing and we’ll be reviewing footage and speaking to witnesses over the coming days.
‘To charge this number of people so soon after such a major disorder has taken a huge effort by staff who have been working around the clock.
‘We’ve had a number of messages of thanks from the club and fans who were present on Thursday night and saw the policing operation first hand, and we are really grateful for that support.’
West Midlands mayor Andy Street also called for European football chiefs to take ‘strong action’ as he thanked the ‘brave officers’ and criticised the ‘deeply unpleasant scenes’.
In the aforementioned statement on their club website on Friday, Villa had said 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.
‘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, added: ‘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 five 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 spokesperson said on Friday: ‘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.
A police horse raises its front legs during the trouble outside Villa Park last night
A police officer helps an injured colleague away from the unrest
Legia Warsaw fans pelting Aston Villa supporters with projectiles from outside Villa Park
‘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.’