Two players for Legia Warsaw, which was beaten 1-0 by AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night, are being held responsible for a violent incident next to the Polish players’ bus after the game, the Dutch public prosecution department said on Friday.
“It was the players who used violence, which is why the decision was taken to arrest them,” the public prosecution office, police, club and Alkmaar city council said in a joint statement on Friday afternoon.
Two players – Josué Pesqueira and Radovan Pankov – are accused of mishandling AZ staff and causing injuries which required medical attention, the statement said.
“The public prosecutor’s decision to arrest the players was not taken lightly and was agreed with the police,” the statement said. “They are suspected of serious criminal charges and the department will assess each case carefully.”
The case has extra priority because Polish media had suggested that the players themselves had been attacked by riot police, the statement said.
The trouble happened when the players bus was prevented from leaving the car park because the Legia fans were still leaving the stadium. The bus was kept in for the players’ own safety but “a number of players and officials did not agree and resorted to violence,” the statement said.
“Images on social media show riot police surrounding the players’ bus. They were there as protection and to get the two players out of the bus, because they had, in the meantime, got back on.”
Local police chief Hamit Karakus said that it would be “helpful” if the Polish authorities “helped track down suspects instead of criticizing our action. I condemn this unacceptable level of violence against police officers.”
Both the club and the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki have commented on the incident on social media.
Morawiecki described reports of the events as “very disturbing” and said he had ordered “urgent diplomatic action to verify what had happened.”
Pre match trouble
There was also trouble before the match when Warsaw fans stormed the entrance gate and one riot police officer was knocked unconscious in the fighting that followed. Police then decided to use tear gas to break up the crowd.
“Investigators are now conducting an investigation to find out who was responsible for the numerous acts of violence against police officers and stewards,” the statement said.
Alkmaar mayor Anja Schouten said officials are investigating whether and how to exclude fans likely to cause trouble from European matches.
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