Police officer dies as fans clash before Europa League game

Ruben Hill
February 23, 2018

An officer has died after clashes between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow fans in the Spanish city, the country's national police service has confirmed.

Despite warnings that many Russian fans would travel without tickets, fighting broke out around 19:50 local time as groups of Russian hooligans gathered close to the headquarters of ETB television. Both sets of supporters started to throw bottles and flares at one another before a police charge put the fight on hold. Another law enforcer was hospitalized due to cardiac problems as well, reportedly passing away as a result.

Northern Spanish city of Bilbao had been on high alert with 600 police and 200 private security staff on duty in the expectation of the arrival of 2,500 Spartak supporters, several hundred of whom were known to belong to Spartak's notorious ultras.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said afterwards he was "deeply affected" by the events.

"The Russian ultras should not have travelled to Bilbao".

He was one of five men taken to hospital, with four people reported to have been arrested so far.

Athletic Bilbao had won the opening leg 3-1 in Moscow and this clash is now 2-1 to the Russian side.

In June this year, Russian Federation host the World Cup and local authorities are putting strict security procedures in place to control hooligans.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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