West Ham fans condemn ‘significant failings’ of police in face of ‘pre-planned’ AZ Alkmaar attack
West Ham fans have blasted the “significant failing” of police and security forces following the chaos at last night’s Europa Conference League semi-final against AZ Alkmaar.
The families of West Ham players and staff were among a group of travelling supporters attacked by Alkmaar ultras following the full-time whistle at the AFAS Stadion, as they celebrated an historic victory for David Moyes’s side, who reached the club’s first European final in 47 years thanks to a 3-1 aggregate win.
Hooded Alkmaar thugs tore down a barrier in order to break out of the home end and then attacked the Hammers contingent, who were seated in the corporate area of the ground per Uefa protocol, rather than in the main away section.
Several West Ham players joined the melee in a bid to protect their loved ones, with stewards and police seemingly slow to respond to the carnage, while footage showed one Irons fan fighting off dozens of Dutch supporters to prevent them from gaining access to the stand.
“The incidents that we saw appeared to involve a masked and hooded gang in pre-planned and unprovoked attack on the friends and family members of players,” a statement given to Standard Sport by the West Ham United Supporters’ Trust said. “This appears to be a significant failing on the part of the security and police in terms of intelligence and prevention as well as a lack of officers in place to provide adequate protection for a vulnerable group.”
Dutch police eventually restored some degree of order but announced on Friday morning that no arrests had been made during the violent attack.
Uefa are reviewing footage and reports of the incident before deciding on their next steps, but a formal investigation appears likely and Alkmaar are expected to be hit with a heavy punishment, having already been sanctioned over fan trouble twice in the last 15 months.
The WHUST statement continued: “We spoke to our counterpart fan group at AZ Alkmaar ahead of the game, along with Football Supporters Europe, and we are seeking urgent talks with them again to find out more.
“We urge any supporters that witnessed what happened last night after the game, to contact West Ham United Supporters' Trust.”