Express & Star

More than 1,000 ticketless Legia Warsaw fans claimed to be heading for Aston Villa

Villa are preparing for a Polish invasion with more than 1,000 ticketless Legia Warsaw supporters claimed to be travelling for tonight’s Europa Conference League tie.

Last updated

The visitors have seen their allocation for the Group E fixture slashed following the intervention of West Midlands police and the region's safety advisory group (SAG), much to the fury of their fans.

Villa and Legia had initially agreed for the Polish club to have 1,700 tickets, 400 fewer than they would normally be allowed under Uefa rules, after the authorities expressed concern over Legia fans’ track record of causing trouble.

That has now been reduced further on a police recommendation approved by the SAG, to an allocation of just 1,000, after violence flared at Legia’s match at AZ Alkmaar earlier in the competition. The Polish club’s fans were subsequently banned from their next away fixture at Zrinjski Mostar.

Express & Star's Aston Villa European coverage is sponsored by Rydale

Legia supporters insist they are being unfairly discriminated against, with claims around 3,000 still intend to travel to the Midlands having already booked travel and accommodation.

But the authorities are understandably perturbed by a lengthy rap sheet, which includes their most recent trip to the UK two years ago, when 20 police officers were injured during clashes at Leicester’s King Power Stadium. One later had to retire on medical grounds. The reduction in allocation has nothing to do with Villa – though the club has borne the brunt of criticism from Legia’s supporters.

Tonight’s match effectively doubles as a play-off to determine the group winner. The teams enter locked together on nine points, with Legia currently holding the upper hand courtesy of their 3-2 win over Villa in Poland on the competition’s opening night.

Villa, who beat AZ Alkmaar last time out courtesy of Ollie Watkins’ winner, would secure top spot in the group with a game to spare if they win by two or more goals.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.