Police forced to intervene before Chelsea vs Dortmund amid fan frenzy
Police on horseback intervened ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night after fans created a frenzy outside of the ground. Chelsea went into the last 16 encounter looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg and book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition. And to add to the hosts’ nerves, kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes after the Dortmund coach got stuck in London traffic on its way to the stadium.
According to the Evening Standard, around a dozen supporters used pyrotechnics outside the stadium as they welcomed the Chelsea team bus to Stamford Bridge. The behaviour sparked a response from police on horseback, with the fans at risk of arrest after warnings from the club. And Chelsea club stewards on Fulham Road were hard at work to ensure flares did not enter the stadium.
Chelsea had already warned fans in a statement that they have a “zero tolerance” approach to flares. And the club have explained that those identified could face “a permanent criminal record, which may affect their employment and education, and could result in a prison sentence”. The Blues have also said they may ban guilty fans from matches for up to three years.
Chelsea reached the last 16 of the Champions League after winning their group courtesy of four victories and one draw. But they were unable to find the back of the net in the first leg of their showdown with Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park three weeks ago as they were defeated 1-0.
The Blues have endured a dismal campaign under Graham Potter and had only won two games in 2023 ahead of their match with Dortmund. And after falling to 10th in the Premier League table following third-round exits in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, Potter was well aware ahead of kick-off that the Champions League provided his last opportunity to win silverware this season.
Pyrotechnics have become more of a problem at football stadiums in recent times. And ahead of last season’s FA Cup final at Wembley, the FA were forced to put out a statement to warn of their dangers.
“In recent months, we have seen a rise in pyrotechnics, flares and smoke devices being brought to stadiums around the country,” it read. “It is important to highlight that these items are not only illegal inside a football stadium, but these prohibited items can also cause great harm to people.
“These pyrotechnics and flares can burn at up to 2,000°C and can cause significant injuries to carriers and fellow spectators. We have also seen a number of incidents that have resulted in people experiencing breathing difficulties, distress and discomfort.”
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