Ukraine police detain 52 football fans for clashes ahead of Champions League game

Police in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov detained 52 people after clashes between fans of Shakhtar Donetsk and visiting Dutch team Feyenoord ahead of the teams’ Champions League encounter on Wednesday.

According to local media, a group of around 25 fans stormed a pub in the city where Dutch fans had gathered on Tuesday. The fans entering the pub reportedly shouted abuse at the Dutch supporters and footage of the incident shows chairs being thrown. Windows were also smashed and the interior of the pub was damaged in the violence. Local police confirmed that they had been called to an altercation at the ‘Wall’ pub and that 52 people had been detained over their role in the conflict. 

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Shakhtar Donetsk and Feyenoord meet on Wednesday night in their Champions League Group F match at Kharkov’s Metalist Stadium.

The Ukrainian team are playing their games in Kharkov due to the ongoing unrest in their home city of Donetsk in the east of the country.

There were 40 Dutch citizens among those detained, Reuters reported, citing Interfax Ukraine news agency.  

Shakhtar claimed a 2-1 win during the teams’ first group fixture in the Netherlands earlier in October, and the Ukrainian club sit second in the group on six points, behind English team Manchester City. Feyenoord are rock bottom, having lost all three of their games.  

Ukrainian capital Kiev will host this season’s Champions League final in May, although there may be concerns over fan safety. Violent clashes between Dynamo Kiev fans and supporters of Turkish club Besiktas before a Champions League match last December left 10 people needing hospital treatment for stab wounds. Around 600 fans were reportedly involved in the clashes.  

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