Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 11:24 UK

Uefa Cup violence 'started early'

CCTV footage of fans attacking police (GMP)
Thirty-nine police officers were injured during the night

An official report into the Uefa Cup Final in Manchester on 14 May has found evidence of anti-social behaviour eight hours before the match started.

Violence broke out in Piccadilly Gardens when a big screen showing the Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg match stopped working before kick-off.

But the Manchester City Council report found missiles were thrown at acts on a stage and fights started mid-morning.

It said Piccadilly Gardens should not be used for similar future events.

The report recommended that in the future events of such a scale should be ticketed, and fan zones should be set up only in venues which could replicate conditions at football grounds, including controlled access to alcohol.

'Pelted with cans'

The report stated: "The first act on stage lasted only 20 minutes out of the 45 minutes scheduled because they were pelted with cans and coins."

"Large numbers of people were jumping up and down on the roof and urinating on top of the unit.

"Although the police were called the sheer numbers surrounding them meant there was little they could do."

The report found 39 fans were arrested across the city for offences including public disorder, assault and possession of offensive weapons.

A Rangers fan throwing a bottle in Piccadilly Gardens (Pic: Jeevandra Sivarajah)
Trouble flared in Piccadilly Gardens (Pic: Jeevandra Sivarajah)

But the report recommends that the council note the successful staging of the event.

Kenny Scott, head of security at Rangers, said 10 supporters had already been banned from the club.

The Rangers Supporters Assembly raised concerns over the way Greater Manchester Police appeared to switch from "helpful mode" to "riot mode" and had also received reports regarding police over-reaction.

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said 38 complaints were received about officers' conduct, which would be investigated, the majority of which over claims of excessive force.

'Isolated incidents'

The report revealed the problem with the Piccadilly Gardens screen was caused by failed signal reception.

Bottles were thrown at technicians trying to sort the problem and the report stated the screen could have been fixed by kick-off had it not been for the "violence of the crowd".

The stabbing of a Zenit St Petersburg fan was found to be an "isolated incident" and fans inside the stadium were praised for their overall conduct during the match, which Rangers lost 2-0.

The study said the 37,000 Rangers fans inside the City of Manchester stadium were well behaved and "a credit to the club".

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CCTV footage of Rangers fans clashing with police in Manchester

The report, prepared by Manchester City Council chief executive Howard Bernstein, said the trouble in Piccadilly Gardens continued to build during the day.

It said that by 1700 BST the Piccadilly fan zone was almost full and stewards had to call for police assistance as "large volumes" of fans forced the gates.

It added that by 1900 BST the merchandise unit was "overrun" and frightened staff had to leave.

'Successful staging'

"Shutters could not be closed as the electrics had been damaged and the shop was full of rowdy fans. When they returned the next day, the tills were smashed and everything stolen," it said.

The report said a marquee was damaged and its contents looted at 1930 BST and that the area behind the screen at Piccadilly Gardens was "invaded" by fans.

It said: "Following the announcement of the screen failure, several hundred people became directly involved in acts of disorder, some caused criminal damage and considerable violence was directed at the police."

About 130,000 Rangers fans were in Manchester for the final, which brought 20m to the city's economy.

The report will be considered by the authority's Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee on Tuesday and the full council next week.

It recommended that councillors note the successful staging of the final, comment on how the event was planned and run, and request that organisers of future large-scale events in the city take account of the lessons learned.




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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
The Scotsman Uefa clash violence kicked off at 11:30am - 8 hrs ago
Glasgow Herald Rangers accept report over violence at Uefa Cup final - 11 hrs ago
Leigh Today Report reveals details of Uefa final trouble - 17 hrs ago
Milton Keynes Citizen Report reveals details of Uefa final trouble - 19 hrs ago
Football365.com Report Details Uefa Cup Final Trouble - 20 hrs ago



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