Mon, 29 May 2023

Albania police deport dozens of soccer fans after clashes

Robert Besser
28 May 2022, 21:12 GMT+10

TIRANA, Albania: Following violent clashes between Dutch and Italian fans and the police ahead of this week's Europa Conference League final in Tirana, some 80 fans were deported to Italy.

Italian club Roma faced Dutch team Feyenoord in the match at the 20,000-capacity National Arena.

During the brawls, 19 police officers and five Albanian civilians were injured, while one police officer was injured in a knife attack, authorities said. Three Italian fans and two Dutch supporters were also injured.

Ahead of the match, some fans were removed from the stadium following a fight in the seating area allocated to Dutch supporters. Dutch fans also hurled flares onto the field.

Following this, deputy head of police Albert Dervishi called on "Italian and Dutch fans to behave and act as European citizens, respect the country's laws and not clash with police, or the laws will be strictly applied."

Dervishi said 48 Italian fans and 12 Dutch supporters were detained, adding that those arrested could face up to seven years in prison.

"We are determined to guarantee order and security, to prevent property destruction and the normal holding of the sporting activity," Dervishi said, according to the Associated Press.

Roma executive director Pietro Berardi, who met with Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj, asked fans from both teams to behave.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm and passion, but we should respect everyone," Berardi said.

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