No Champions League Screen Following UEFA Violence

by : Krissy Haze

Manchester Council has dramatically abandoned plans to use big screens to screen next week's Manchester United Vs Chelsea Champions League final after Glasgow Rangers fans caused chaos in the city. An estimated 20,000 Glasgow Rangers fans were in the city to see their team play Zenit St Petersberg in the match at the City of Manchester Stadium, but the occasion soured when people ran riot in the city centre, attacking both police officers and civilians.

Richard Leese, leader of the city council leader, told reporters that Manchester would not be screening the vital game next Wednesday as "an appropriate response to what happened last night." He said that "any business or resident of the city centre" would agree with the council’s decision not to show the game.

Trouble started in the city when a big screen that was supposed to be showing the game to an estimated 20,000 fans in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens failed just fifteen minutes before kick off. All attempts to fix the screen failed, so the council laid on free transport for 11,000 fans to watch the game on a screen in the Velodrome. However, some fans refused to go to the alternative venue and violence erupted.

Violence was also present at the Stadium and one St Petersburg fan was stabbed in his seat before kick-off. There was more violence outside the City of Manchester Stadium after Rangers lost 2-0 in the match. In total, there were 52 assaults recorded in the city and fifteen police officers and a police dog were treated for their injuries. 42 football supporters – all thought to be Glasgow Rangers fans - were arrested after the violence.

Glasgow Rangers released a statement yesterday, which condemned the behaviour of their badly behaved fans. Martin Bain, the club's chief executive, said: "The club has had discussions with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council in view of incidents in the city last night. The police and council praised the behaviour of the overwhelming majority of Rangers fans." However, he added "We are deeply disappointed that a small minority soured what was great carnival atmosphere and this is a view shared by our fans who travelled in unprecedented numbers to Manchester."

Uefa, the governing body of European football, is now investigating the violence. However, it is not yet known whether Glasgow Rangers can be punished for the bad behaviour of its supporters.

William Gaillard of Uefa said that Greater Manchester Police and the city as a whole had done a "fantastic" job in looking after the fans. He said: "I can’t believe that any other city would have done anything better. Of course we are very disappointed with the behaviour of a small minority especially after the city had done everything it could to accommodate everyone’s needs and were rewarded by injured policemen and hundreds of tons of rubbish."