Police to investigate fan violence

Manchester police review crowd trouble after the Uefa Cup final.

    Rangers fans clashed with police
    in Manchester [GALLO/GETTY]

    Manchester police have begun investigating the violence that flared in connection with the Uefa Cup final between Zenit St. Petersburg and Rangers.

    Forty-two arrests were made as police officers and ambulance crews came under attack in a night of disturbances in downtown Manchester, where the match was being shown on giant TV screens.

    Five Rangers fans were held, but later released without charge, following the stabbing of a Russian fan inside the City of Manchester stadium.

    Russian fans were outnumbered by Rangers supporters in designated fan zones in downtown Manchester, with some 100,000 ticketless supporters mingling in the city from early Wednesday.

    "This minority of thugs spoiled the day for all true supporters," assistant chief constable Justine Curran said.

    Alcohol blamed

    Manchester police blamed excessive alcohol consumption for "isolated pockets of disorder" among thousands of Rangers fans at public screenings of the game.

    The disorder was sparked when one screen broken down 15 minutes before the match, which saw Zenit lift the cup with a 2-0 victory.

    "As a result, a small number of supporters, who until that point had been largely well-behaved and had been enjoying the carnival atmosphere, became frustrated and started to pelt the screen with beer bottles,'' Manchester Police said in a statement.

    "Council workers attempted to repair the screen, however these attempts failed and supporters, many of which had been drinking heavily for a number of hours, became increasingly frustrated.''

    The morning after the night before

    Buses were arranged to transport fans to a screening at a velodrome next to the stadium, but "a significant minority'' remained at the site and began to confront police.

    At least 15 police officers were injured, with one losing a tooth after being headbutted by a Rangers fan.

    One police dog sustained a serious cut to his paw.

    Rampaging football fans also targeted their fury at ambulance crews racing to the scene to help the injured.

    Outside Rangers' Ibrox stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, which hosted 25,000 fans for a public screening of the final, Scottish police said 21 people had been arrested on public disorder offences.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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