80 arrested before PSG vs Zagreb game

80 arrested before PSG vs Zagreb game

PARIS - The Associated Press
80 arrested before PSG vs Zagreb game

Dinamo Zagreb players train on the eve of their Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. REUTERS photo

Police said yesterday they arrested around 80 Dinamo Zagreb football fans in a hotel in the French capital just hours before the Croatian team was due to take on Paris Saint Germain.

The arrest came after supporters from the two teams clashed in street fights on the eve of their Champions League game. Interior Minister Manuel Valls had on Nov. 4 imposed a travel ban on Dinamo fans coming to France for the match.
The scuffles on the evening of Nov. 5 ended with 24 people arrested and left one Croat supporter seriously injured, said police, who intervened at the popular Place de la Bastille and restored calm shortly before midnight.

Travel ban

Valls said on Nov. 4 he imposed the travel ban because he considered there was a real chance of “serious incidents occurring should fans from both sides come across each other.”

 He added he was informed by Croatian authorities that 150 to 200 violent supporters from a gang called the “Blue Bad Boys” would be travelling without tickets for the match.

 As a result of this information Valls had decided to forbid “from Nov. 5 to midday Nov. 7, the travel either individually or as a group, by road, rail or air of all Dinamo supporters to French border points and the Ile-de-France region (the Paris area).”

At least two people were injured in a fight near the Bastille in the night of Nov. 5, police told the Sipa news agency.

The Croatian fans were not allowed to buy tickets for yesterday’s match and were banned from France amid fears of hooliganism. About 100 PSG fans were turned back from the Croatian border ahead of the Oct. 24 match to head off similar problems.

Hooliganism has been rife among a section of PSG fans since 1985, until a crackdown by the club following the deaths of two supporters in 2006 and 2010.

“I strongly condemn the serious public order disturbances that happened last night,” Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said. “I would like to salute the rapid response of the police service.”

Last month, PSG hooligans tried to travel independently of the club but were foiled by border police trying to cross into Croatia from Slovenia, with cars rented in Italy.

The last time PSG played in the Champions League in the 2004-2005 season, there were violent clashes near the stadium with rival hooligans from Chelsea and CSKA Moscow.