Aston Villa Lodges Complaint with UEFA over Legia Warsaw’s Misconduct
Aston Villa has officially filed a complaint with UEFA regarding the behavior of Legia Warsaw during their recent Conference League match. The incident resulted in Legia supporters being denied entry to Villa Park due to “disgusting and highly dangerous scenes” that occurred outside the stadium, as reported by West Midlands Police.
The police made a total of 46 arrests for various offenses, including violent disorder and assaulting police officers. Furthermore, one police officer’s jacket caught fire after being hit with a flare, resulting in the officer being hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Fortunately, the injuries are not severe.
Villa wasted no time in submitting an official complaint to UEFA on Friday, prompting an investigation into the events that unfolded on Thursday night. Prior to the match, Legia had been informed by UK safety authorities that their agreed-upon ticket allocation of 1,700 would be reduced to 1,000 as of November 2.
Chris Heck, president of business operations at Villa, expressed his disappointment with Legia Warsaw’s lack of cooperation and prevarication leading up to the match. He emphasized that such behavior not only endangered the police officers and Villa fans but also has no place in modern football or civilized society.
Villa intends to make further representations to UEFA to ensure that other clubs and police forces across Europe do not face similar safety risks caused by Legia Warsaw. The club also expressed gratitude towards West Midlands Police for ensuring the safety of supporters and the local community. The police will also be making their own representations to UEFA through UK police authorities.
According to Villa, Legia was informed about the ticket reduction on November 2 following the violent incidents that occurred before their match against Dutch side AZ. Villa believes that Legia failed to communicate effectively with its supporters, despite having ample time to prevent additional ticketless fans from traveling.
Villa raised additional concerns during a meeting on matchday between officials from both clubs and UEFA. Legia confirmed that they were unsure whether they would accept their ticket allocation, as they did not want to leave any ticketless fans behind who had made the journey.
In a statement released before kick-off on Thursday evening, Legia insisted that the proposal of 1,700 supporters attending was officially accepted and documented in the UEFA delegate’s report. However, this was later revised by the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) on November 2.
Legia expressed their frustration with the UK authorities’ decision to reduce the ticket allocation, which led to increased anger among their fans. Despite the smaller quota, approximately 1,000 additional ticketless supporters still traveled from Warsaw to Birmingham.
The Athletic has reached out to Legia for further comment on the matter.
[Go Deeper: How Aston Villa’s European tie with Legia Warsaw descended into chaos]
(Photo: James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)