Officer Dies In Clashes Before Athletic Bilbao V Spartak Moscow

Emilio Banks
February 25, 2018

Nine people were arrested, including three Russians and a Pole, during clashes outside San Mames in which a police officer died of a heart attack.

The Spanish media said that Spartak fans set off the street confrontations, while the Russians accused locals of inciting the unrest.

A Spanish police officer dies after violent clashes between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow supporters on Thursday night.

The incident also raised fears over hooliganism at this summer's World Cup which will be hosted by Russian Federation.

"This is pure exaggeration against Russia and the Russian people, but they have always been talking about it", he concluded, adding that after the game he and other fans had to wait in the stadium because police said they couldn't guarantee their security.

The La Liga club had emerged victorious in the first leg in Russian Federation last week, running out 3-1 winners in Moscow while Spartak won the second leg 2-1 meaning Athletic move onto the next round. "We are in contact with local authorities to obtain further information on these incidents".

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The incident takes place less than four months before Russian Federation is due to host the 2018 World Cup finals, and will do little to calm security worries among fans considering visiting the tournament.

The incident happened when travelling Russian fans were incited by the home fans, just outside the Plaza Moya area outside the San Mames stadium.

The Spanish Football League "LaLiga" condemned the incidents with LaLiga President Javier Tebas saying the organization would "fight the phenomenon of ultras until it is totally eradicated", and virtually every football club in LaLiga posted a tweet expressing solidarity with Aria Garcia's family and companions.

The Europa League is UEFA's second tier club competition. Many fans were seen trying to run away from the trouble as fireworks exploded all around.

For instance, sports daily Marca claimed "there are radical groups among Russian soccer fans and some of the members had previously participated in violent clashes in other European cities".

Six years ago, a fan died in Bilbao in clashes after a match between Athletic and the German club Schalke.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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