More violent scenes were present during this week’s round of Champions League matches, with Marseille’s travelling supporters subjected to a beating at Atletico Madrid.
The ugly scenes erupted in the build-up to the match when the French supporters clashed with baton-wielding riot police and stewards for around 10 minutes in the away section of the ground, apparently all because the authorities wanted to remove a flag from public view. What started as an isolated incident quickly spilled out throughout the away supporters, with the local security seemingly provoking a downward-spiral of aggression which became harder and harder to put out.
According to Marseille president Pape Diouf, “it was an atmosphere heavy with undercurrents and violence unacceptable in stadiums which left us with a taste of ashes, a bitter taste. We came here to play a Champions League match and we thought that Madrid was still a great footballing capital. What was even more questionable was the intervention and the very savage charge by the police who I think gave themselves the responsibility to go in and take away a flag from our supporters. That sparked off the beginning of a riot and could have caused a real catastrophe because if our supporters had wanted to react, we would have had a lot more serious cases than injuries to deplore. It was a dark night in all senses.”
Footage of the incident, including graphic images of a dazed middle-aged man with blood caking his face, can be seen here.