Czech police to create Prague ring of steel for final

23 May, 2023
written by Sean Whetstone

Police will be drafted in from all over the Czech Republic to boost the numbers to more than 10,000 officers for the Europa Conference League final in Prague next month.

Security is being racked up to ease concerns about potential trouble between supporters and UEFA have called an emergency meeting in the host city for Friday involving Britain’s National Police Chief’s Council, Scotland Yard, Italian and Prague Police the Daily Mail claims.

The number of police and private security guards on duty in the city will outnumber ticketed supporters of West Ham and Fiorentina whose clubs have only been granted 4,890 official tickets.

Fiorentina’s Stadio Artemio Franchi has a capacity of 43,147 while West Ham’s London Stadium can seat around 66,000. It has been estimated that 25,000 fans without tickets will converge on Prague.

UEFA chose to stage the final in the  which has an official capacity of just over 19,000 including standing room, despite it meaning many supporters would be disappointed.

But an additional worry for the security teams will be the availability of cheap beer around the capital.

A senior Czech police source said: ‘We have no confirmation, but we believe there will be problems of fighting between rival fans and we are confident we can keep it to a minimum.

‘There will be no stopping in the selling of beer, we will not be doing that. We know people will get drunk and be violent, but we are prepared.’

He said a ring of steel will be thrown around the Fortuna Arena on June 7 and ticketless fans will be barred from entering the police zone around the stadium which is home to Slavia Prague.

An area around rival club side Sparta Prague’s Generali Česká Pojišťovna Arena will be used as a fan zone to help one set of ticketless fans view the match on giant screens, he revealed.

Rival supporters will be marshalled to a second fan zone at Výstaviště Praha, which is also called the Prague Exhibition Ground, to watch the final on screens.

In between them will be thousands of armed police and riot officers to help keep trouble to a minimum.

The Czech police source said major planning would get underway next Friday, but the two venues had already been decided on.

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