Manch­ester United vs Feyeno­ord set for large po­lice pres­ence amid hooli­gan­ism fears

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

One of the largest po­lice oper­a­tions in Manch­ester United's his­tory is set to be car­ried out when Feyeno­ord visit Old Traf­ford tonight.

Hun­dreds of of­fi­cers are ex­pected to be de­ployed around the ground and in the city cen­tre amid fears fan hooli­gan­ism could mar the Euro­pean match.

There are con­cerns that as many as 4,500 Feyeno­ord sup­port­ers will travel to Manch­ester with­out tick­ets as well as 3,100 more who do pos­sess tick­ets for the crunch Europa League game.

It is feared as many as 200 ticket-less hooli­gans could make the jour­ney from Am­s­ter­dam to Manch­ester for the 8.05pm kick-off.

A po­lice source told the Daily Mail : “In to­tal, we are look­ing at about 7,500 vis­it­ing fans and the wor­ries are over the 4,000 who don't have tick­ets.

“There will be a large po­lice pres­ence in the city cen­tre to mon­i­tor them.

“The only oper­a­tion that comes close in re­cent years was the FA Cup match against Leeds in 2010 when they brought 9,000.”

The po­lice's cause was not helped when United's mal­func­tion­ing web­site al­lowed as many as 4,500 Feyeno­ord fans to buy tick­ets in the home end.

Although United even­tu­ally can­celled those tick­ets and gave out re­funds, a num­ber of Dutch fans will al­ready have made travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion plans and are likely to make the jour­ney any­way.

Feyeno­ord have pre­vi­ous when it comes to fan trou­ble.

In 2006 the team were dumped out of the UEFA Cup af­ter vi­o­lent clashes be­tween their fans and sup­port­ers of French side Nancy.

Just last week a video emerged of vi­o­lence be­tween fans of Feyeno­ord and Nancy 10 years on from from the Dutch side's UEFA Cup dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

It is thought the bat­tle was ar­ranged by mem­bers of the Dutch side's ul­tras who were still seething over the in­ci­dent which took place a decade ago.

United's fans were also warned by the club to avoid wear­ing team colours for the away clash at the De Kup Sta­dium in Septem­ber so to avoid po­ten­tial vi­o­lent clashes.

A po­lice spokesman said: “We are expecting a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Feyeno­ord sup­port­ers to visit Manch­ester ahead of the match and would like to of­fer a very warm wel­come to all sup­port­ers.

“We are highly ex­pe­ri­enced in polic­ing high-pro­file events and have been work­ing closely with both clubs and sup­port­ers to make sure ev­ery­one can en­joy the match in a com­pet­i­tive but safe en­vi­ron­ment.

“As with ev­ery match, there will be po­lice in and around the ground, so if you have any con­cerns be­fore, dur­ing or af­ter the match, then please ap­proach nearby of­fi­cers or stew­ards.

“Al­ter­na­tively, you can call 101 and in an emer­gency, al­ways call 999.”

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