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Aston Villa v Legia Warszawa: 46 men charged after ‘appalling and violent’ clashes with police outside Villa Park | UK News

Forty-six men have been charged after five police officers were injured during violent scenes outside Villa Park on Thursday.

“Appalling” clashes occurred before Aston Villa’s game against Legia Warsaw on Thursday evening, which involved missiles being thrown at police officers.

Of those arrested, 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, West Midlands Police said.

They are all aged between 21 and 63, and around 40 of them are believed to be from Poland.

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Police officer hit by flare

A small number are believed to be UK residents, police added.

Two police dogs and two horses were also injured during the incident, which saw officers face “90 minutes of sustained violence”.

It led to the Polish fans being banned from entering the stadium.

Footage on social media appeared to show objects being thrown into the stadium from outside.

All the men, except one bailed to appear at a later date, are due in court today.

Police attempt to put out flares that have thrown towards them outside the stadium before the UEFA Europa Conference League Group E match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Thursday November 30, 2023.
Legia Warsaw fans ejected from the home stand by stewards
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Some Legia Warsaw fans were ejected from the home stand

Detective Superintendent Jim Munro, who is overseeing the criminal investigation, said: “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.”

Police are continuing to review CCTV and bodycam footage to identify further suspects in what they labelled “an appalling and violent public disorder”.

Legia Warsaw fans were sectioned off from the home fans by police
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Legia Warsaw fans were sectioned off from the home fans by police

A police officer is helped up by colleagues after being hit by a flare
Image:
A police officer is helped up by colleagues after being hit by a flare

Ahead of the match, a safety advisory group had recommended that the ticket allocation for away fans be cut by 1,000 after trouble during Legia Warsaw’s tie against AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands in October.

The force’s assistant chief constable, Damian Barratt, told Sky News that away fans subsequently turned up to pick up tickets that weren’t available to them.

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UEFA has said it “strongly condemns the unacceptable violence” which occurred around the match.

“UEFA is in the process of gathering all official reports from the game before deciding on potential next steps,” it said in a statement.

In a statement, Legia said their official delegation, owner and president refused to enter Villa Park in solidarity with their supporters, while they also complained about the ticketing situation.

Aston Villa and Legia went into the match neck-and-neck at the top of Group E in the Europa Conference League, with the home side coming out on top with a 2-1 win.

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