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Violence fears ahead of PSG Anderlecht clash

The Local/AFP · 23 Oct 2013, 09:34

Published: 23 Oct 2013 09:34 GMT+02:00

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  • Police make 76 arrests including 60 hardcore hooligans from Paris
  • Reports of a Polish hooligan arrested armed with a meat cleaver
  • "This is the most dangerous game of the year," says the mayor of Anderlecht.

Police in Brussels are on high alert as they try to prevent clashes between supporters of French side PSG and Belgian rivals Anderlecht, both of whom are known for their violent hooligan element.

There have been reports that the two sets of fans have set up a pre-arranged confrontation on Wednesday, ahead of the match.

On Tuesday police in Belgium arrested 60 PSG supporters at Eugene Flagey square on the eve of the match in a bid to prevent trouble. Around 20 Anderlecht fans were also detained. There have also been reports of several PSG fans arrested at a trains station in Brussels armed with metal bars.

“We arrested around 60 hardcore supporters from Paris. These are the ringleaders that we were seeking to neutralise,” said a Brussels police spokeswoman.

It is believed most of those detained already have convictions for hooliganism and are the subject of stadium banning orders.

Those arrested will only be released once the game has ended.Belgian police also fear that the potential for violence would be exacerbated with reports that hooligans from clubs in the Netherlands and Poland plan on travelling to Brussels looking for trouble. Reports in the French press say one of the Polish hooligans arrested was armed with a meat cleaver.

Wednesday’s game is considered a high risk match by authorities.

The two sets of fans have history when it comes to violence with a 1992 UEFA cup clash between the PSG and Anderlecht marred by a major outbreak of trouble that left many injured.

“This is probably the most dangerous game of the year and we will do everything to protect people and property,” said the mayor of the Anderlecht district Eric Thomas on Wednesday.

Officers in the Brussels have been given the green light to make arrests as a preventative measure.

Meanwhile on the pitch Laurent Blanc’s PSG side will be hoping to continue their excellent run of form in this year’s competition.

Story continues below…

Paris Saint Germain should be anticipating a third successive win in three Champions League games as they face an Anderlecht side devoid of confidence and pointless.

PSG will be without defender Christophe Jallet, Javier Pastore and Thiago Silva, all injured but such are the riches at coach Laurent Blanc's disposal that their absences shouldn't matter.

Anderlecht coach John van den Brom sent out the youngest team in the club's history for the 2-0 league win over Mons last Friday and could well do the same on Wednesday where out of form skipper
Guillaume Gillet is likely to start on the bench.

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The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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