West Ham fans bloodied a Fiorentina player by pelting him with missiles during the Europa Conference League final.
In other ugly scenes after the match, West Ham fans clashed with riot police in Prague.
Just three weeks after West Ham fans and players’ families were attacked by AZ Alkmaar thugs, the club’s historic European campaign has been blighted yet again, with Italian ultras attacking West Ham supporters in the Prague center.
However, inside the Eden Arena it was the West Ham end who were at fault as fans threw a dozen plastic cups and a vape at Fiorentina’s Cristiano Biraghi. The final had to be temporarily halted as doctors witnessed a gash to Biraghi’s head and the referee led the furious Italian players towards the halfway line.
The stadium announcer appealed to supporters: “Stop throwing objects onto the pitch immediately – please respect the players and officials.”
UEFA said immediately after they would await a report on the incident, but well-placed sources told Telegraph Sport the club would certainly be punished.
“It’s silly behaviour,” said former West Ham midfielder Joe Cole on BT Sport’s coverage. “I’ve been hit by things myself – you have to settle and get out of the game.”
The mood had turned on the West Ham side in the minutes before the incident as fans booed Spanish referee Carlos del Cerro Grande’s earlier decision-making.
Immediately after West Ham’s victory, the club issued a statement saying they “unreservedly” condemned “the behavior of a small number of individuals who threw objects onto the pitch”. Those who launched the missile face indefinite bans, the club added.
“These actions have no place in football and in no way represent the values of our football club and the overwhelming majority of our supporters, who have behaved impeccably in Prague this week and throughout. of our last two seasons in European competition”. club added.
Violence in the streets of Prague
West Ham fans clashed with riot police in Prague after the match. Fans flocked to the streets of the Czech capital, many of whom were already in the city center after thousands of people came from the UK without tickets. But a fight broke out after officers tried to confiscate a lit flare as fans gathered in the city’s Old Town area.
Riot police stormed a group after lighting a second flare, with fans responding by pelting the officers with bottles and missiles.
Earlier today, Czech police said they arrested at least 16 Italian supporters after they attacked West Ham supporters outside a bar, with videos shared on social media showing chairs being thrown and fireworks being thrown.
The Prague police had anticipated trouble and had a strong presence in the main drinking establishments. Several videos have emerged on social media of the clash in which police say three West Ham fans were injured. An officer was also attacked as the violence dispersed. “We have been targeted multiple times throughout this tournament,” said a fan who witnessed the attack but declined to be named. “They burst into the pub with flares before tearing us apart”
Chris Knoll was part of the traveling support
At least 15,000 West Ham fans descended on the town. Hundreds of ticketless fans tried their luck around the stadium perimeter, but there were few local touts and most were diverted to the city fanzone.
After learning from the chaos of the Champions League final in Paris last year, UEFA and local forces carried out a cunning operation immediately around the stadium. Temporary metal fences snaked along the main road.
Among the crowds in Prague was Chris Knoll, 58, the fan praised by players and fellow supporters for fending off AZ Alkmaar ultras after the semi-final. He was rewarded by the club with a ticket to the game and was seen posing for photos with supporters before kick-off.
West Ham and Fiorentina each received only 5,780 tickets for the match, as Slavia Prague’s stadium only has a capacity of around 19,000.
Singer Chesney Hawkes, who performed on the pitch in a game against England during the World Club, was among performers who entertained West Ham supporters at Letna Park. He described his performance before kick-off as “the best concert of my life”. The pop star, whose song The One And Only was number 1 in the UK for five weeks in 1991, is a lifelong West Ham fan.
“Just to be among these people is my family here,” he said. “It was amazing, absolutely amazing, felt the love. To have my whole family on stage, my son, my brother, my best friend, it was just a dream come true.
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