Albanian police clash with Italian, Dutch fans; 12 injured

TIRANA, Albania (AP) Albanian police on Tuesday reported at least 10 officers and two civilians injured in clashes with Dutch and Italian fans a day ahead of the Europa Conference League final between Dutch club Feyenoord and Italy's Roma.

Two separate groups of opposing fans clashed with police in separate areas while trying to go toward each other, a police statement said.

Dutch fans hurled plastic and glass bottles and other objects toward police officers. In another incident, Italian fans used hard objects and batons to clash with police.

Police said 48 Italian fans and 12 Dutch "involved in violent acts" were detained.

Feyenoord and Roma are storied clubs with big fan bases, and notorious violent elements among their supporters. They were gathered in separate "fan zones" one kilometer (0.6 miles) apart.

Albanian authorities have taken extreme precautionary steps for what they want to be a "festive day," a car-free one in the downtown area on Wednesday that was declared a holiday.

Up to 100,000 fans are expected to populate Tirana despite each club being allocated only 4,000 tickets for the inaugural final of the third-tier European tournament, which was designed to give smaller clubs a shot at a continental competition.

Capacity at the National Arena is less than 20,000.

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Updated May 24, 2022

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