Almost 50 arrested after serious disorder involving Legia Warsaw fans outside Villa Park

Missiles were thrown at police as Legia Warsaw fans were held in a coach park near the ground, ITV News Central Reporter Matt Ratcliffe reports

A total of 46 people have been arrested after serious disorder involving Legia Warsaw fans outside Villa Park.

Aston Villa FC were playing Poland's Legia Warszawa in the Europa Conference League at the stadium in Aston, Birmingham.

It is believed to have sparked when tickets were not distributed by the away club to supporters outside the ground, as had been anticipated.

During the disorder four officers were injured - with one taken to hospital - along with two police horses and two police dogs. Police say missiles including flares were thrown towards them.

A statement from West Midlands Ambulance Service crews confirmed 14 people were treated after the disorder.

Dozens of arrests were made following the trouble outside the ground. Credit: PA

UEFA told ITV News Central that it condemns last nights violence.

In a statement it said: "UEFA strongly condemns the unacceptable violence which occurred around the Aston Villa v Legia Warsaw match.

"UEFA is in the process of gathering all official reports from the game before deciding on potential next steps."

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: "The incidents happened before, during and after the match between Aston Villa and Legia Warsaw.

"Three ambulances, three paramedic officers and two rapid response vehicles were deployed along with a specialist equipment vehicle.

Ten patients were treated and discharged by ambulance staff for minor injuries such as cuts and bruising outside the ground.  In addition, four police officers were also assessed and treated with one conveyed to hospital as a precaution."

Chief Inspector Tim Robinson, match commander, said: "This should have been a great evening of football which was enjoyed by fans from both clubs.

"Unfortunately, there were appalling scenes which saw away fans dangerously throw flares and other missiles at our officers.

"We were there to help keep people safe, yet officers own safety was put at risk because of the deplorable actions of others.

"Due to the extreme violence, there was no other choice but to prevent away fans entering the stadium. The safety of everyone is our priority, and clearly we had no other option.

"There can never be a place for such appalling behaviour, and this is something ourselves and the wider community should never have to experience."

Scores of police in full riot gear, and some on horses, were deployed. Credit: PA

West Midlands mayor Andy Street has called for European football chiefs to take "strong action" following the disorder.

In a statement, Aston Villa FC said: "Aston Villa Football Club 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 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 HŠK 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."

The statement continued: "The club has repeatedly, including this morning, raised concerns in conjunction with UEFA and all the relevant authorities to Legia that ticketless away supporters were attempting to attend Villa Park.

"Approximately an hour before kick-off, Legia fans engaged in planned and systematic violent acts against West Midlands Police officers and a decision was then made by West Midlands Police to exclude all Legia supporters.

"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."

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