From arrests to pickpockets: The numbers that tell the story of Liverpool and Spurs fans in Madrid

From arrests to pickpockets: The numbers that tell the story of Liverpool and Spurs fans in Madrid
It was the biggest police presence ever staged for a sporting event. Photo: AFP
It was the biggest police operation Madrid had ever staged for a sporting event and Madrid was poised for an invasion of hooligans. But were the fans really that badly behaved?

Some 5,000 police officers were on duty over a two day period that saw more than 70,000 British fans – at a conservative estimate – flood into Madrid for the Champions League final.

Headlines in the Spanish press in the run up to event suggested the capital was about to be overrun with British football hooligans and some restaurant proprietors in the centre suggested they may shut their doors between Friday and Monday morning to avoid any trouble.

But how much trouble was there really?

Lets take a look at the stats.


Spanish police said a total of 14 British people were arrested in connection with Champions League celebrations.

One British fan was arrested for attempting to fly a drone over Plaza Mayor, which had been taken over by Liverpool fans.

Another was arrested after stealing a match ticket from a fellow fan. He was chased down by two mounted police officers near the stadium.

Three fans were caught by plains clothes policemen attempting to steal video equipment from a TV crew filming outside the Wanda stadium ahead of the match on Saturday.

Another Brit was arrested for possession of drugs and resisting arrest as he entered the stadium ahead of the match.

Four fans were arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour. One had smashed up a bar on Professor Waksman Street, and another two were held for fighting on Gloriteta de Ruiz Jiménez and a fourth lashed out at cops as they attempted to move him.

This last is believed to be Macauley Negus, whose family issued desperate appeals after he went missing during post match celebrations. In fact he was in police custody but had been “too inebriated” to correctly give him name to police so they were unable to match him to the missing person description.


Photo: Paul D. Thacker

Another  fan was arrested after trying to break in to apartment on Argumosa Street in Lavapaies which he mistakenly believed he was staying in. On discovering the key didn’t work he tried to break down the door, but in fact had the address wrong.

The most serious incident was that of a fan who was filmed naked, perched on the railings in Puerta del Sol, masturbating in public. He allegedly assaulted an Italian tourist, attempting to place his hand up her skirt and then when she resisted, he knocked her to the ground.

Several arrests were made over  the weekend of people attempting to sell fake tickets, including one woman who was caught after selling two fake tickets for €8,400 to two fans in Puerta del Sol.

Police said they had received dozens of calls but said in all cases they were minor disturbances that dispersed with the arrival of police officers to the scene.

First aid emergencies

Samur, the medical emergency service which runs ambulances in Madrid and set up medical emergency stations in the fanzones and at hotspots across the city over the weekend, reported treating a total of 25 people on Friday and 172 people on Saturday.

The majority suffered dizziness, fainting and vomiting from the heat and consuming too much alcohol and only 20 were transferred to hospital treatment and given further treatment over the two days.

Emergency Passports

It is difficult to determine exactly how many people were the victims of pickpockets over the weekend but many complained in whatsapp groups of fans and on facebook of having their wallets stolen.

The British Embassy confirmed to The Local that by Monday morning consular officials had provided 60 emergency travel documents from Brits who had lost or had their passports stolen over the weekend.


City Hall authorities claimed 85 tons of rubbish, mostly empty beer cans, had been collected between Thursday and Sunday from areas where fans had congregated – the dedicated fan zones as well as the squares of Puerta del Sol, Callao and Plaza Mayor.

Economic boom

According to predictions ahead of the event, Madrid was set for an economic boom of €62million for hosting the final, according to the Confederación de Empresarios Madrileños (CEIM).

This estimate was based on the expected spend of some 70,000 fans at hotels, bars and restaurants over the weekend.

Not too bad then

Yes, it was noisy, messy and occasionally got out of hand but on the whole it went pretty smoothly. Despite fears of hooliganism, there were only isolated incidents of bad behaviour. Madrileños might be left perplexed as to the need for quite so many sweaty overweight men to walk around with their shirts off, and the chants will be ringing in the ears of residents for a few days yet.

After all, Spaniards know, better than anyone, how to stage a good party. 

READ ALSO: Champions League Final: What to eat in Madrid when you have a hangover

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