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Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 13:37 GMT

Police claim play-off success

Police praised the majority of fans from both countries

Police in London say the crowd control operation at England's Wembley play-off with Scotland was a success, despite 56 injuries and 39 arrests in the capital.

Battle of Britain
Fourteen of the arrests were in the city centre, while 25 people were detained in the Wembley area.

The arrests were mainly for ticket-touting and public disorder offences, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

One fan was injured by a police horse while others were hurt during clashes between rival fans before and after the game.

Most of the injuries are believed to be minor, although at least one fan was taken to hospital more seriously hurt.

But police said the numbers were relatively low and that fans were generally well-behaved before, during and after Scotland's 1-0 win.

"Last night's police operation both in central London and at Wembley was a success," the spokesman said.

"The number of arrests was comparatively small, with the vast majority of fans enjoying the match in a responsible and good-natured way."


After the game, Scottish fans at the stadium stayed behind to cheer their brave team.

Many were in tears after seeing their side come so close to equalling England's 2-0 win in Glasgow last Saturday.

As soon as the final whistle went, England fans in central London poured out of West End pubs and headed for Trafalgar Square.

But with the temperature dropping below freezing in London, most had left by midnight.

The success of Wednesday's operation will be welcomed by the English Football Association, who are bidding to host the 2006 World Cup.

Attention will now turn to policing England fans at next summer's tournament in the Netherlands and Belgium.

There have been concerns about English hooligans clashing with Dutch or German counterparts.

A decision on the 2006 tournament is made shortly after Euro 2000.

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