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Controversial Legia Warsaw fans banned from five UEFA away games after Aston Villa violence

Legia Warsaw fans have been banned from the next five away games in European competition after violence ahead of their fixture at Aston Villa in the UEFA Europa Conference League.

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Legia Warsaw fans launched missiles at police in Birmingham on 30 November | Photo: Icon Sport

What happened with Legia Warsaw fans at Aston Villa?

Thirty-nine people were arrested following the violence, which began when Legia Warsaw fans were blocked from entering the Villa Park away end due to “safety fears.”

Some fans of the Polish club were set to be permitted, but West Midlands Police later explained that Legia's away allocation had been cut to 1,000 after conversations with local emergency services. It's alleged that Legia fans had been involved in match day disorder prior to this decision.

The decision caused a major incident even before the violence took place. Legia Warsaw's owner and other senior executives took the decision to boycott the match, calling the allocation reduction “counterproductive and baseless.”

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Photo: Icon Sport

The violence saw flares and other objects thrown at police officers, four of whom were injured.

Thousands of Legia Warsaw fans had travelled to Birmingham for the fixture, with Aston Villa claiming that “ticketless away supporters were attempting to enter Villa Park.”

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Empty seats in the stands in the Legia Warsaw away section | Photo: Icon Sport

Why are Legia Warsaw fans banned from away games?

A ban on away fans is a fairly common tactic by UEFA after incidents such as this.

However, the benefit of these bans is more widely debated. As exemplified in Birmingham, many Legia Warsaw fans travelled without tickets and this is a regular occurence for clubs across Europe, including well-supported English clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle United.

Whether security is made easier or more difficult by away fan bans isn't clear, then. Instead, it's likely that thousands of Legia Warsaw fans will still travel for their future fixtures but instead congregate in the city centre rather than at the stadium.

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Legia Warsaw fans are known for their passion and intense displays | Photo: Icon Sport

How much have UEFA fined Legia Warsaw?

UEFA have fined Legia Warsaw a total of €100,000 as a result of the disorder. This relates to “crowd disturbances, acts of damage, throwing of objects and lighting of fireworks.”

Fines such as these are commonplace during the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League group stages.

For example, French club RC Lens have been fined £25,800 after their supporters damaged 50 seats at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium during their 29 November UEFA Champions League fixture.

Harry Robinson

A freelance writer and broadcaster, Harry has worked for or featured in/on Manchester United, FourFourTwo, The Independent, The Manchester Mill, UEFA, United We Stand and many others. He's the author of The Men Who Made Manchester United and hosts the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. A Stretford End season ticket holder, Harry travels around Europe to watch his team.

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