UEFA is set to investigate unsavoury scenes during FC Copenhagen's trip to face Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, in which the travelling Danish fans were attacked by what appeared to be sections of the Kiev support.
English referee Andre Marriner halted play for 15 minutes while supporters were "forced to seek refuge under the stands," according to Igor Nitsak of the Daily Mail.
A Dnipro supporters representative, known as Vlad, spoke directly to Ukrainian television broadcaster 2+2. He indicated clashes started after the away support waved a Russian flag inside the stadium, per Nitsak:
I would like to apologise for this incident. It was some sort of a provocation. The Danish fans demonstrated the flag of the neighboring country, that is why we saw the brawl. The incident was inflammatory because of politics.
You can see the incident below:
War continues to wage between pro-Russian separatists and forces deployed by the Ukrainian government after the former nation's controversial annexation of Crimea. Vladimir Putin officially completed the process by signing a bill shortly after the 2014 Winter Olympic Games concluded in Russia, forcing many to question whether the 2018 World Cup should be held in the country.
The conclusion of the Champions League qualifier, which eventually ended 0-0, saw Copenhagen release a statement confirming the club wishes to seek action, noted by Nitsak:
A few fans of our club were attacked by the Ukrainian fans and were forced to run away from the stands. It is very unpleasant for us. We have complained to UEFA. We will refrain from further comments until after an investigation.
This news come alongside the suggestion Celtic fans were attacked in a Warsaw bar ahead of the club's European qualifier with Legia Warsaw, reported by Ronnie Esplin of the Associated Press and via the Daily Mail. The Scottish club are "currently investigating" according to a spokesperson, with UEFA likely to be extremely busy ahead of the competition's group stages.
Unfortunately, violence between rival fans is becoming commonplace in the Champions League. German supporters battled outside Wembley Stadium prior to Bayern Munich beating Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 final, while "hundreds" of Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain followers were said to have fought ahead of their quarter-final clash in April.
UEFA confirmed Ukrainian and Russian teams cannot be drawn together during any European tournament next season, an attempt to quash potential trouble, per the governing body's website. An emergency panel also confirmed no games can be held in Israel after the nation's invasion of Gaza.
Although it is yet to be proven a Russian flag was waved toward Ukrainian fans during this latest incident, the situation highlights supporters of any nation travelling to one of the troubled zones could be putting themselves in serious danger.
UEFA will obviously have to monitor the situation closely and may be forced into taking extreme measures. The Champions League has been riddled with stadium closures and fines in recent times, many of which have stemmed from incidents of racism.
This latest occurence may force officials into rethinking how clubs in volatile areas will complete their schedule, as UEFA could be tempted to deploy extra security measures before the main tournament begins.
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