Police officer dies after Athletic and Spartak Moscow fans clash in Bilbao

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Fans of both teams came to blows outside San Mames ahead of their Europa League last-32 match

One police officer, 50-year-old Inocencio Arias Garcia, has been left dead in Bilbao after fans of Spartak Moscow and Athletic Bilbao clashed in the streets ahead of their Europa League last-32 match on Thursday. 

Fans of the Russian and Spanish sides clashed with members of the Ertzaintza – the local Basque police force – near San Mames ahead of the second-leg meeting.

Around 200 Spartak fans made the trip from Russia and arrived early near the stadium. Those supporters and Athletic fans were involved in altercations, with bottles and flares being thrown.  

The Ertzaintza stepped in to keep the fighting from getting out of hand, and one of their members died of a heart attack following the conflict. 

The Spanish Football Federation confirmed in a statement that the officer fell after a flare dropped close to him and suffered the heart attack, passing away at the Basurto Hospital. The federation also expressed its condolences to the friends and families of the deceased and strongly conmdemed violence surrounding sporting events. 

The Spanish national police also confirmed the officer's death in a tweet. 

Reports also suggest that at least four other people have suffered injuries in the fighting, and that multiple arrests have been made. 

 

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