UEFA call ’emergency meeting’ as West Ham fans set for 36p beers in Prague
Moyes concerned for family after trouble mars West Ham victory
UEFA have drafted in senior police figures from three different countries to stage an emergency meeting ahead of next month’s Europa Conference League final, according to reports. West Ham’s clash with Fiorentina is expected to be played out in front of a charged-up atmosphere following the Hammers’ trouble with AZ Alkmaar supporters in the semi-finals, and cheap beer sold outside the stadium could spark extra trouble.
Unsavoury scenes erupted after West Ham sealed their spot in the Conference League final courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate win over AZ. A group of hooded Dutch fans attempted to break into the section of the stadium containing the family and friends of West Ham players and staff.
Police in Prague, where the final will take place on June 7, have already set about boosting their security numbers, with around 10,000 officers reportedly being drafted in. According to The Daily Mail, beer can be picked up in the Czech capital for just 36p.
UEFA have reportedly called an emergency meeting in response with Italian police, Scotland Yard and Czech police all preparing to attend later this week.
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Slavia Prague’s stadium, the Fortuna Arena, hosts just shy of 20,000 people. With both West Ham and Fiorentina set to bring a huge number of supporters to the final, thousands of ticketless fans are expected to line the streets.
Even with the small capacity, the Hammers and their Italian opponents have each been granted an allocation of fewer than 5,000 tickets. West Ham attract weekly crowds in excess of 60,000 at the London Stadium.
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Authorities are preparing to place a steel ring around the Fortuna Arena to stop fans without tickets entering the police zone. Meanwhile, separate fan areas in nearby destinations will be set up to allow those not in attendance to watch the match on big screens.
The Hammers are in their first European final since 1976, and their deep run in the competition has reportedly afforded manager David Moyes the luxury of deciding his own future after a season of disappointing Premier League form.
Despite West Ham currently sitting 14th, Moyes believes that this could be an iconic campaign in the club’s history. “Seasons are long, and you never know how they are going to work out, but this could turn out to be one of West Ham’s best-ever seasons,” he told reporters.
“There’s still some work to be done in the Premier League, but finishing seventh and getting to the Europa League semi-finals last year was huge, and in some ways it’s probably taken its toll on us this season. But reaching a European final will make up for a lot of the other things that have happened this year.”
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