Almost 40 people arrested after officers injured in disorder outside Villa Park

39 people were arrested and four officers were injured in the disorder at Villa Park ahead of Aston Villa and Legia Warsaw
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Police have arrested almost 40 people as officers were injured during serious disorder involving away fans outside Villa Park in Birmingham yesterday (November 30).

West Midlands Police said: "We were faced with disgusting and highly dangerous scenes as trouble flared ahead of the fixture between Aston Villa and Legia Warsaw.

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"We had a significant policing presence in place because of safety concerns. This stemmed from visiting fans having been involved in previous match day disorder. Tonight's disorder is believed to have sparked when tickets were not distributed by the away club to supporters outside the ground, as had been anticipated."

Due to the joint recommendation of the Safety Advisory Group (SAG), working alongside Aston Villa and supported by UEFA, only 1,000 tickets were allocated for away fans. The SAG is made up of emergency services, local authority departments and transport who assess the health, safety and welfare of those involved with public events to offer advice and guidance to organisers.

Four officers were injured - with one taken to hospital - along with two police horses and two police dogs as missiles including flares were thrown towards them. Their injuries are not believed to be serious.

The disorder led to away fans not being allowed into the stadium due to safety concerns, and a significant number of arrests were made.

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Police made 39 arrests on suspicion of offences including violent disorder and assaulting a police officer and they have been taken into custody for questioning. Police will further review all available footage to identify perpetrators. 

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."

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