Police Officers Injured in Confrontation with Legia Warsaw Fans Prior to Aston Villa Match
Three police officers sustained injuries in a confrontation with supporters of Legia Warsaw before an anticipated Europa Conference League match at Aston Villa. A tumultuous scene unfolded as projectiles were hurled at the police by fans of the visiting team, while these supporters were confined to a parking area behind the Witton Lane stand.
Reports from Mail Sport suggested that Legia Warsaw expressed dissatisfaction with their reduced ticket allocation, a decision influenced by advice from the police and the Safety Advisory Group. Consequently, Legia fans were barred from entering the stadium, causing a delay in the commencement of the game.
Birmingham Police, issuing a statement on X, previously known as Twitter, conveyed the ongoing situation, expressing the inability to allow away fans into Villa Park due to disorderly conduct outside the venue. Regrettably, three officers sustained injuries amidst the chaos, prompting a significant law enforcement operation. They urged individuals to steer clear of Witton Lane where possible.
Legia Warszawa🇵🇱 fans have been DENIED entry to their game vs Aston Villa🏴 tonight after fighting with Police officers outside the stadium 😰❌ pic.twitter.com/dohdX0d0AD
— 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐔𝐥𝐭𝐫𝐚 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 (@thecasualultra) November 30, 2023
Concurrently, an official statement from Legia accused Villa of failing to adhere to UEFA regulations regarding ticket allocation for a Europa Conference League match. UEFA guidelines stipulate that the visiting team is entitled to five percent of the stadium’s capacity, translating to 2,100 tickets at Villa Park. However, Legia was only granted 890 tickets, which they found inadequate.
In an effort to reach Villa Park before kickoff, Legia supporters encountered barriers and a heavy police presence, leading to visible frustration among the fans. The situation escalated, with flares being ignited as the fans were contained by law enforcement.
In response, Aston Villa clarified that no away fans were permitted entry into Villa Park due to advice from the West Midlands Police, following unrest caused by visiting supporters outside the stadium. The decision to reduce the ticket allocation to 1,002 was influenced by safety concerns arising from previous disorder caused by Legia fans in a prior match against AZ Alkmaar. This incident resulted in injuries to Dutch police officers, prompting UEFA to ban Legia supporters from attending a subsequent game.
Despite efforts to cooperate with Legia, Aston Villa expressed disappointment over the lack of assistance in addressing the safety matter of away fans attending Villa Park. They highlighted concerns regarding ticketless supporters attempting to access the venue and condemned the violent acts directed at the police by Legia fans, leading to the exclusion of all Legia supporters from the game. Aston Villa commended the professionalism of West Midlands Police in handling the challenging circumstances.