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17th Mar 2022

Chelsea fans clash with French riot police ahead of Lille fixture

Callum Boyle

The violence occurred before kick-off

Chelsea fans clashed with riot police in France before their Champions League last week 16 second leg tie against Lille on Wednesday.

Several of the Blues supporters were reportedly spotted throwing glass bottles in the direction of the riot police as well as singing chants in support of outgoing owner Roman Abramovich.

Riot police meanwhile threw gas canisters in an attempt to diffuse the situation, as well as send in small groups to round up and arrest troublemakers, many of whom were drunk and disorderly.

As per the Daily Mailone police spokesperson recalled the events. “We were called to the bar following complaints about the behaviour of the supporters,” he said.

“Roads around the area have been cordoned off and there are still isolated pockets of trouble around the city.”

Those who have travelled to the north of France are potentially seeing their side for the last time for the foreseeable future following sanctions imposed on Abramovich.

Both the UK and EU have hit the Russian Oligarch with heavy sanctions – freezing all of his assets and inflicting a travel ban – given his close ties to Vladimir Putin in wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ticket sales are one of those sanctions, with season ticket holders only allowed to attend league games. Should Chelsea advance to the quarter finals of the Champions League, they will also be forced to play their home leg behind closed doors due to the sanctions.

Chelsea also embarrassingly withdrew their request to play their FA Cup quarter final game against Middlesbrough behind closed doors this weekend after they received widespread backlash.

Among those who criticised the initial statement included an unnamed senior government source, Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson and former Blues defender, Graeme Le Saux.

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