Police Officer Dies Following Clashes Between Athletic And Spartak Moscow Fans
A police officer has died following violent clashes between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow fans prior to the Europa League round of 32 second leg last night.
As reported by the BBC, more than 500 officers were called upon for the tie and when chaos erupted outside San Mames before the game, riot police were forced to step in.
In scary footage which has emerged online, the two sets of fans can be seen aiming fireworks at one another.
And it has since been confirmed that Inocencio Alonso Garcia, a 51-year old officer from the Basque country's force, suffered a cardiac arrest and sadly lost his life in hospital as a result of the clashes.
Bilbao's police force offered their condolences, as did Athletic and La Liga president Javier Tebas:
Nuestras condolencias a compañeros/as, amigos/as y familiares del ertzaina fallecido en acto de servicio.
Descanse en paz.
Goian bego. @ertzaintzaEJGV
- Bilbao Polizia (@Bilbao_Polizia) February 22, 2018
Nuestro más sentido pésame a la familia y compañeros del agente fallecido hoy.
El Athletic Club muestra su más firme rechazo a la violencia generada en torno al fútbol. #athlive #UEL
- Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) February 22, 2018
La violencia ultra se ha cobrado la vida de un servidor del orden público... ¡¡¡Basta ya!!! Desde @LaLiga seguiremos con nuestra política de lucha contra el fenómeno ultra, hasta su erradicación total.
Mi más sentido pésame a la familia y a toda la Ertzaintza. D.E.P
- Javier Tebas Medrano (@Tebasjavier) February 22, 2018
As per The Independent, UEFA issued the following statement on the matter:
"Uefa strongly condemns the violent clashes which occured in Bilbao on Thursday night. We are in contact with local authorities to obtain further information on these incidents.
"Uefa sends its sincere condolences to the family and colleagues of the police officer who passed away tonight."
Spartak won the second leg 2-1 away from home but their 3-1 defeat on home soil a week ago meant they lost 4-3 on aggregate and were therefore eliminated from the competition.
Featured Image Credit: PA