Dozens of Roma fans were sent home Wednesday after violent clashes in Tirana on the eve of their Europa Conference League final with Feyenoord, which left 19 police officers injured, police said.
The situation remained calm overnight after clashes late Tuesday in which one officer was stabbed while 60 supporters of both sides, the majority of whom were Italians, were arrested, a police official said.
The clashes erupted as police tried to stop a group of Feyenoord fans heading towards an area where Roma supporters were located.
They attacked police with bottles, stones, sticks and other objects, official Albert Dervishaj told reporters.
Supporters of the Italian club also attacked authorities with sticks and stones, police said earlier while according to an AFP reporter fans clashed in at least three locations in Tirana.
On Wednesday morning, 80 Roma fans were sent home from the Adriatic port of Durres.
The injured officers and 10 people, including five Albanians, three Italians and two Dutch, sought medical help.
Four police vehicles were damaged.
The situation was calm on Wednesday morning in the Albanian capital and police urged bars not to serve alcoholic drinks along with glass bottles to prevent them being used in possible new clashes.
Schools and public administration services were closed while traffic was banned in downtown Tirana.
Although the venue for Wednesday’s final, at Tirana’s National Arena, has capacity for only 21,000 spectators, it is expected that around 100,000 fans of both teams will come to the Albanian capital for the game.
According to local authorities, fans will be divided into separate fan zones and will be able to watch the final on giant TV screens.
Prior to the incidents, Albanian police said they have deployed 2,000 officers to ensure the match will be “transformed into a day of celebration”.