Spanish police authorities have deemed the upcoming clash between Atletico Madrid and Arsenal scheduled for May 3, 2018, a high-risk encounter.
The tie which represents the second leg of the much-anticipated Europa League fixture in Madrid will be punctuated by a large presence of law enforcement agents.
This declaration follows from a surge in the number of criminal incidents whenever English fans travel to Spain, with the 3,000 fans expected to make the trip from England further influencing the decision.
Supporters of Chelsea FC clashed with police officers and stewards who attacked them with batons after their recent visit to Barcelona in March, prompting the club to urge supporters to reach out with their accounts of the experience.
At the post-match press conference, Chelsea head-coach, Antonio Conte said:” We are aware of reports of incidents outside the ground before the game, where a number of Chelsea fans were hurt. We ask that our supporters contact us with accounts of their experiences of this evening’s arrival at the stadium so that we can take this up properly with the authorities.”
Earlier in the season, Liverpool supporters group, Spirit of Shankly (SOS), complained bitterly about the maltreatment meted out by Seville police authorities and stewards during their Champions League encounter against Sevilla. In a statement to ESPN FC, the group said:”What is more concerning is the reports of heavy-handed treatment of supporters, including physical assaults, with one committee member reporting she was punched as she was pushed out of the ground. Similar experiences have been shared with us from other supporters last night, and we’ve asked people to come forward so we can raise this issue with the club.”
”We’ve already flagged it up to them and we’re aware they are looking for more information. Clearly, though, what happened last night isn’t acceptable and we will be asking both clubs and UEFA what they plan to do about it,” they added.
The Europa League represents the only trophy outlet for either side with Arsenal under greater pressure to salvage their season by winning a first European title since 1984.