AZ apologizes for ‘pitch dark evening’ after attack on West Ham fans

ALKMAAR, Netherlands, May 19 (Reuters) – Dutch club AZ Alkmaar has apologized after some of its own supporters attacked West Ham United’s family and friends as they celebrated their Europa Conference League semi-final victory on Thursday .

The home supporters broke through a fence and attacked the West Ham team who were in the reserved area behind their home team’s dugout in the AZ Stadium. read more

A scuffle ensued as West Ham players including captain Declan Rice attempted to intervene, with many running to help relatives.

Police and officers rushed to the scene to prevent further clashes and calm returned after 10 minutes.

“What everyone was looking forward to was a historic European tournament, but the events at the referee’s final whistle made it a pitch black night,” AZ said in a statement. Report On Friday.

“It has become an evening to remember with shame. Not because of the football game, but because of the behavior of some of the spectators. Unfortunately, we cannot use the word ‘supporters’ for these people.”

“What happened was out of bounds. The club again apologizes to West Ham United and the thousands of AZ supporters who were inconvenienced by the misconduct.”

The club says it will view the images together with the police, the Public Prosecution Service and the municipality of Alkmaar to assess “what happened, how it could have happened and what needs to be improved”.

AZ further stated that those responsible will suffer appropriate consequences.

‘I am ashamed’

The Dutch police informed the ANP news agency on Friday that they had not yet made any arrests, but will review the images to see if there is criminal liability for the arrest.

Incidents also took place outside the stadium, including at the Alkmaar train station, according to the police.

The AZ coach and players condemned parts of their supporters for participating in the attack.

“It’s annoying, it doesn’t belong in our stadium. Preferably in no stadium,” said AZ coach Pascal Johnson after West Ham lost 1-0 on Thursday to reach the final against Fiorentina. Prague on June 7.

‘I am shy. Even on a losing night you have to control your emotions.’

West Ham manager David Moyes said the incident had eclipsed the Premier League club’s record.

“There is nothing we can do, or West Ham as a club. Like everyone else, if you see your relatives in trouble, go help, that’s the situation,” Moyes told reporters on Friday.

“Unfortunately it has cost a lot of news and time. But since we reached the final, we haven’t talked about it, which is a great achievement.”

A similar incident occurred in London last week when AZ supporters, including coach Johnson’s family, were attacked by West Ham fans after celebrating a goal from the Dutch club in the first half of the first leg.

(This story has been reprinted to add the omitted word in paragraph 1)

By Mark Gleeson in Johannesburg; Edited by Peter Rutherford

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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