English Fan Stabbed on Eve of UEFA Cup Final

Published May 17th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

An English football fan was stabbed and a policeman injured Wednesday as violence erupted in central Copenhagen between English and Turkish supporters on the eve of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Cup final police said.  

"The Englishman who was taken to hospital in the capital, was lightly wounded, after being stabbed with a knife," a police officer Finn Bach told AFP. 

"A policeman was also injured by a stone thrown during the incidents," he added. 

Another British man was seen wearing a bloodstained Arsenal shirt, but was not apparently badly injured. 

Around ten British and Turkish fans -- who took part in the fighting between fans of English Premier league side Arsenal and their Turkish opponents Galatasaray -- had been arrested, the police officer said. 

The trouble began shortly after midnight (2300 GMT) in a pedestrian area of central Copenhagen. Police had apparently tried to barricade about 20 English fans into the Absalom bar as a much larger group of Galatasaray fans, many clad in their team's red and yellow colors, let off steam outside, driving up and down in cars sounding their horns and waving Turkish flags. 

Copenhagen security forces had been on red alert for Wednesday's UEFA Cup final because of a feared repeat of the violence that marred the semifinal in Istanbul between Galatasaray and English side Leeds United last month, when two Leeds fans were killed. 

One of the British fans was seen leaving the bar and going towards a group of Turkish fans, who were running in the direction of the Town Hall, sparking violent skirmishes. 

Riot police, with dogs, arrived on the scene and peace was eventually restored by around 2:00 a.m. But not before the stabbing occurred and one police officer was struck above the eye by a missile thrown from one of the sets of supporters. 

On Tuesday evening both Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and his Galatasaray counterpart Fatih Terim had appealed to their supporters to remain calm. 

Leeds supporters Kevin Speight, 40 and Christpher Loftus, 36, were stabbed to death on April 5 in a brawl with Turkish fans ahead of the UEFA semi-final, first-leg match which Galatasaray won 2-0. 

Six other Leeds fans were also injured in the clash in Istanbul's commercial Taksim district. 

Turkish police maintained then that the fight broke out after British supporters broke car and shop windows and acted in a provocative manner against the Turkish flag and citizens -- AFP 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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