Fiorentina-West Ham scuffle in Prague's Old Town leads to injuries and arrests

Violence and scuffles with police overshadowed the game, which drew thousands of ticketless fans from Italy and the UK.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 08.06.2023 10:07:00 (updated on 08.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Fiorentina football club fans attacked West Ham supporters, injuring three people, in a bar on Rytířská Street in Prague’s Center yesterday afternoon, and police detained 16 suspects. The game had to be interrupted due to the fans, and police also scuffled with fans after the game.

English side West Ham beat Italy’s Fiorentina 2:1 in the final of the European Conference League at the Fortuna Arena in Prague-Vršovice last night.

West Ham fans were injured in the pre-game incident and the Fiorentina supporters also attacked a Czech police officer, police spokesman Jan Rybanský said.

"We have restricted the personal freedom of 16 people and are currently investigating the entire incident," he tweeted. In a video report showing the scuffle, Britain’s Sky News said that over 30 people had been detained, but the police didn't confirm that number.

During the brawl, the fans were throwing chairs, some of which, as well as a table, ended up on the road, according to a video posted on Facebook. The Italian fans were detained by police at a shoe shop, a photo posted on Twitter shows.

Prague's emergency service treated three people after the brawl in Rytířská Street, spokeswoman Jana Poštová told ČTK. Two of them did not need to be taken to hospital, while a third person was taken to the hospital with minor head injuries, she added.

Rybanský in the afternoon also reported that smoke bombs had been set off by the fans in Old Town Square before the game. After the game, police confiscated a flare from a celebrating West Ham fan in Old Town Square, and then a second fan lit another flare and threw bottles at the police, according to Metro.co.uk. The outnumbered police formed a circle to defend themselves.  

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During the match, play had to be suspended in the 33rd minute when cups and a vape pen thrown onto the field injured the captain of the Italian team, Cristian Biraghi, causing a bloody wound on his head.  

Security around the stadium before the game had been high to prevent people with weapons or pyrotechnics from entering the stadium.

Rybanský said hundreds of police officers from the riot, criminal, traffic, and foreigner police supervised order and security. Officers on horseback and dog handlers also participated.

Up to 25,000 fans from both Britain and Italy descended on the Czech capital for the game. Most of them did not have tickets and watched the game from pubs and other venues. Fan zones had been set up for supporters of both clubs to prevent them from meeting each other. West Ham's was on at Letná opposite the Sparta Prague arena, while Fiorentina fans met at Výstaviště in Holešovice.

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