A disquieting scene unfolded in the heart of Paris on Monday night, as the eve of a pivotal Champions League showdown was marred by violence. Video footage surfaced showing ultras of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), the French champions, hunting for supporters of Newcastle United, leading to unsettling clashes on the streets of Paris.
Ultras Launch Attack
Evidence of the turmoil was found in videos circulated on social media platforms. The footage revealed around 35 men, dressed uniformly in black, marching through the Parisian avenues. Not much later, additional videos surfaced, this time captured by Newcastle fans. The clips displayed the same group of PSG ultras, faces hidden behind balaclavas, launching an assault on a bar packed with Newcastle supporters. The attackers are seen hurling chairs, bottles, and flares, transforming a peaceful night into a scene of chaos.
Defiant Newcastle Fans
Amidst the frenzy, the Newcastle fans were seen putting up a brave front, trying to safeguard themselves and their comrades. The supporters had gathered in two venues: Corcorans, an Irish pub, and Seguin Sound, a riverside restaurant, with both establishments hosting ticketed events for the 1,200 away fans. Despite the chaos, a representative from the Newcastle United Supporters Club has confirmed that there were no injuries, and characterized the incident as isolated, stating that the footage circulating online made the situation seem worse than reality.
Preemptive Measures and the Aftermath
In light of the unsettling events, Newcastle United issued a statement urging their fans to arrive at the stadium early and avoid certain areas. Following local police advice, pubs were instructed to close early in an attempt to minimize the chance of further clashes, and heightened security measures were implemented. The violent outbreak comes at a time when Newcastle, currently at the bottom of Group F, is set to face the French champions in a must-win match, the outcome of which could decide their fate in the Champions League.
As we reflect on these events, let's not forget the essence of the beautiful game. Football, with its ability to unite people across borders, is a force of camaraderie, not conflict. As this tale unfolds, let's hope that the spirit of sportsmanship prevails over the hooliganism witnessed.