Arrests made as Frankfurt and West Ham fans clash ahead of Europa League semi-final

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More than 30 arrests have been made after West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt fans clashed ahead of their Europa League semi-final second leg, police said on Thursday.

Frankfurt police said in a statement that they had to intervene “in several places” the night before because of fights between rival supporters or because fans “wanted to fight”. Police said they stopped a major altercation around the main train station.

According to police, up to 1,000 visiting fans “including fans considered to be at risk” were registered ahead of the match.

“Rival groups of supporters continued to seek violent clashes, which the police prevented by intervening quickly, notably in the station area. Despite this, there were physical attacks elsewhere,” the statement said, referring to to an attack by departed Frankfurt supporters. two unconscious visiting supporters. Both men had to be hospitalized due to their injuries.

Other altercations included an attack by a larger group of Frankfurt fans on West Ham supporters in a pub, in which baseball bats were used.

Frankfurt ended up beating West Ham 1-0 in the second leg and 3-1 on aggregate to set up a Europa League final match with Scottish club Rangers, who beat RB Leipzig in the other semi-final.

There were also violent clashes in France between Marseille and Feyenoord supporters outside the Stade Vélodrome ahead of the second leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final.

One video showed a seemingly unconscious Marseille on the ground as they were helped by other supporters, another showed two groups charging in shortly before kick-off just outside the stadium.

The match ended 0–0, with Feyenoord progressing to the Conference League final against Roma, winners of Leicester City in the Premier League in the other half of the tie.

This latest incident in the French seaport follows violent clashes between supporters of Marseille and Greek club PAOK last month.

Although Marseille’s police headquarters said on Wednesday that all Feyenoord supporters were banned from entering the city center until Thursday, many had arrived on Wednesday and were drinking in the tourist area of ​​the Old Port.

The prefecture said there were 20 arrests following sporadic fighting around the port and its surrounding streets on Wednesday evening and later that night.

Around 3,000 Feyenoord fans had tickets to the game, but police had expected more than 1,000 arrivals without tickets on Thursday. The game was considered high risk and the police presence was increased. Large groups of Feyenoord supporters were transported to the stadium in specially designated buses.

After violent incidents between PAOK and Marseille, where opposing groups of supporters threw firecrackers at each other during the game, UEFA closed one end of the Stade Velodrome for visiting Feyenoord on Thursday. The section behind one of the goals contains around 13,000 home supporters and was located next to the away section.

Feyenoord has one of the most active hooligan elements in Dutch football. Unruly Feyenoord supporters were reportedly among those who clashed heavily with Dutch police in Rotterdam during a riot over coronavirus restrictions in November.

The match began with a thick cloud of smoke hanging over the stadium as Marseille fans lit flares in a pyrotechnic display behind the goal.

There was an incident during the second half when riot police moved in to form a shield in front of some Feyenoord fans after throwing flares onto the pitch.

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