Four arrested and one police officer injured as fans gathered to celebrate Leeds Utd promotion

Thousands of supporters gathered outside Elland Road on Wednesday night to celebrate the club's promotion to the Premier League.

Following the club's 4-0 win over Charlton, the trophy was presented to the team inside inside an empty stadium. After accepting the trophy, players appeared outside the stadium in an open-top bus to celebrate with supporters.

Ahead of the game, West Yorkshire Police asked people to stay away due to fears over the coronavirus.

In a statement Superintendent Jackie Marsh, of Leeds District Police, said: “The safety of fans and the wider public has always been our primary concern and that is why we advised the safest way for people to celebrate in these times was in their own homes.

“However, it was anticipated that some fans would gather outside the ground last night to celebrate and a police operation was put in place to make sure that this was managed safely and effectively.

“This operation saw a total of four people arrested for public order offences. One officer received a minor injury which did not require hospital treatment.

She continued:

While most of those who gathered did so with good intentions, there were some missiles thrown which resulted in officers having to wear protective equipment. Assaults on police officers will not be tolerated and enquiries will be made to identify those responsible so appropriate action can be taken.

Superintendent Jackie Marsh

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council added: "We were very clear along with the club, West Yorkshire Police and partners that people should not gather at Elland Road or indeed at any other venue in Leeds to celebrate promotion to the Premier League or the presentation of the Championship trophy.

''Following a meeting of the Leeds United Safety Advisory Group earlier this week, contingency plans were considered and prepared for the likely event that large numbers of fans did not adhere to the Covid-19 safety messaging and gathered outside Elland Road last night, and how to ensure they dispersed in the safest and quickest way possible.

''This included closing Lowfields Road to traffic and also an agreed approach to have the open-top bus at the ground but hidden from view and not promoted, only to be used if significant numbers of fans gathered as a method of bringing the gathering to an end effectively.

''As several thousand fans were outside the ground, the decision was taken to deploy the bus plan which proved effective as most of the fans left the area within 40 minutes of the team celebrations concluding."

The statement continued:

All parties involved recognise the difficulties around this decision, which was made only as a method of ensuring the fans dispersed if significant numbers gathered, and would wish to thank all those fans who adhered to the requests to stay safe and stay away.

Spokesperson, Leeds City Council