Seville on alert as fans arrive for Europa League final

AP , Tuesday 17 May 2022

More than 5,000 police officers and security personnel are on high alert in Seville as the Spanish city braces for the throngs of Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt fans arriving for the Europa League final.

Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan
File Photo: Sevilla s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. Photo courtesy of signify Website.

Streets are being closed, barriers are being erected around monuments and security has been heightened in subway stations and at the city's main squares to try to maintain order as more than 50,000 Scottish and German fans are expected in the city ahead of Wednesday's match.

Both clubs are hoping to end decades of European despair by winning the final of the second-tier continental competition at Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. Frankfurt hasn't won a European trophy in more than 40 years, while Rangers' last European title came 50 years ago.

The winning club will also secure a coveted automatic spot in the group stage of the Champions League next season. Rangers last played in the group stage of the top European club competition in 2010-11, while Frankfurt hasn't played in the tournament since losing the European Cup final to Real Madrid in 1960.

Both clubs have huge and loyal fan bases, and many supporters are making the trip despite not having tickets for the final at the 43,000-capacity Sanchez-Pizjuan. Only about 10,000 tickets were allocated for fans of each club. UEFA asked for those without tickets not to travel to Seville and warned about the dangers of purchasing tickets on the secondary market.

``In order to maintain the safety and security of fans, ticket holders should be aware that checks will be carried out at the finals and the local authorities in the cities will take action against the unauthorized resale of tickets,'' UEFA said.

The city prepared two fans zones _ with a capacity of more than 20,000 each _ to accommodate supporters who won't be able to watch the match at the Sanchez-Pizjuan.

There had been fan violence involving visiting fans in Seville when local clubs Sevilla and Real Betis hosted matches earlier in the competition. Before the semifinal match between Frankfurt and West Ham in Germany, more than 30 arrests were made after supporters of both clubs clashed in several locations in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt fans swarmed into Barcelona when the team played against the Catalan club in the Europa League quarterfinals, with more than 30,000 making their way into the Camp Nou Stadium even though the club was only allocated about 5,000 tickets for its fans.

There had been no incidents of fan violence reported early in the week in Seville but authorities said the worst was yet to come.

``We need maximum coordination between local and federal police to reduce as much as possible the risks that come along an agglomeration of fans like this,'' Sevilla mayor Antonio Munoz said.

The economic impact of the Europa League final to Seville is expected to reach about 50 million euros ($52.6 million).

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