NEWS

Police Officer Set On Fire After Clashes With Legia Fans At Aston Villa

Legia football supporters ignited a police officer and harmed three others yesterday by hurling flares at them prior to a match against Aston Villa.

Missiles and flares were thrown at law enforcement while the Legia fans were confined to a coach park near Villa’s stadium.

Despite the 2-1 victory for Villa, no Legia supporters were permitted entry to Villa Park before the match began at the scheduled 2000 GMT time.

The officer, who suffered burns after being struck by a flare and caught in flames, is currently undergoing recovery in the hospital.

Aston Villa has denounced the violence that resulted in three police officers being injured due to clashes involving Legia Warsaw fans before Thursday’s Europa Conference League match.

A Birmingham Police statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, read: “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 and a significant policing operation continues. Please avoid Witton Lane where possible.”

The Polish team saw their ticket allotment cut to nearly 1,000 due to worries about possible crowd disturbances.

Despite the reduced number of tickets allocated, Legia fans without tickets pledged to journey to Birmingham regardless.

“Aston Villa can confirm that no away fans were allowed into Villa Park for this evening’s UEFA Europa Conference League fixture with Legia Warsaw on the advice of West Midlands Police following large-scale disorder outside the stadium caused by visiting supporters,” the Premier League club said in a statement.

“The UK safety authorities, UEFA and Aston Villa, communicated on November 2 that the ticket allocation for away fans for this fixture would be reduced to 1,002 on the advice of safety authorities as a result of previous large-scale disorder caused by Legia fans last month at AZ Alkmaar.

“A number of Dutch police officers were injured during that disorder. As a consequence, UEFA banned Legia supporters from travelling to Mostar for their game against HSK Zrinjski.

“In spite of numerous requests for cooperation from Legia Warsaw concerning their travelling supporters, especially in the last two days, no assistance on the serious safety matter of away fans attending Villa Park was forthcoming from the visiting club.

As Legia fans approached Villa Park, they encountered a line of police officers wearing helmets equipped with visors for self-protection.

The incident leading to police injuries was triggered when flares were ignited while the supporters were confined.

While the match was ongoing, the area of Villa Park typically designated for visiting supporters remained entirely vacant, but additional disturbances occurred outside the stadium.

Social media footage depicted a group of Legia fans congregating in a street, hurling bottles toward Villa supporters observing them from inside the stadium.

“Aston Villa strongly condemns the behaviour of those visiting supporters and would like to thank West Midlands Police for their professionalism in very difficult circumstances,” the club added.

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