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Seville on alert after Frankfurt ultras attack Rangers fans

Five Eintracht Frankfurt fans were arrested in Seville on Tuesday night after an attack launched on Rangers supporters ahead of the teams' Europa League final on Wednesday.

Seville on alert after Frankfurt ultras attack Rangers fans
Up to 100,000 Rangers fans and at least 60,000 Frankfurt supporters are expected to have followed their teams to the final, raising concerns about security. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP)

Several police vans were called at around midnight to neutralise ugly scenes in the centre of the Spanish city where glasses, flares and tables were being thrown.

There were no serious injuries, a police statement confirmed on Wednesday, although one Rangers fan sustained a head injury.

The statement said: “The events took place around midnight last night, when there was a massive fight in front of the Cathedral of Seville.

“The members of the Police Intervention Units that were located in the Plaza de San Francisco had to intervene quickly to break up an incident caused by a group of 200 Eintracht Frankfurt fans who were attacking Glasgow Rangers supporters.”

After seeing police arriving, Frankfurt fans “fled towards Paseo Colón, beating Rangers supporters as they fled and confronting police officers who were trying to prevent the Scottish supporters from attacking.

“The police proceeded to arrest four German fans in the vicinity of Paseo de Colón and another German supporter in Puerta de Jérez.”

Estimates suggest Seville will increase its population by a quarter on Wednesday as huge numbers of fans arrive in the city for the final at Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

Up to 100,000 Rangers fans and at least 60,000 Frankfurt supporters are expected to have followed their teams to the final, raising concerns about security.

Frankfurt fans clashed with West Ham fans in Seville when the former were playing Real Betis and the latter Sevilla in March.

Rangers’ last European final the 2008 UEFA Cup against Zenit St Petersburg in Manchester was marred by violence as 39 people were arrested and riot police called in.

Police hope to separate fans without tickets for the match on Wednesday night.

Rangers fans not attending the game will be able to watch in a fan zone at La Cartuja stadium, located on the outskirts of Seville and nine kilometres from the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

Ticketless Frankfurt supporters will be urged to congregate at the Prado de San Sebastián, closer to the centre but six kilometres away from La Cartuja.

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FOOTBALL

Spain and Portugal make official joint-bid to host 2030 World Cup

The Spanish and Portuguese footballing federations have already put together a proposed list of venues for the event, which would be the first in Spain since 1982 and the first ever in Portugal.

Spain and Portugal make official joint-bid to host 2030 World Cup

The Spanish (RFEF) and Portuguese (FPF) footballing federations have formally submitted their application to jointly host the 2030 FIFA World Cup following an agreement made between them in which they chose  14 venues, 11 in Spain and 3 in Portugal.

Despite having dominated international football in recent years, it would be the first time Spain has hosted a World Cup since the famous 1982 event, and Portugal’s first time hosting the sport’s premier competition.

Both footballing powerhouses, however, have hosted the European Championship in the past: Spain all the way back in 1964, and Portugal more recently in 2004.

Host cities and stadiums

Although the host cities haven’t been officially announced yet, if the famous 1982 tournament is anything to go by there would be matches held in Madrid’s famous Santiago Bernabeu and Barcelona’s Camp Nou, but likely both stadiums in each city, as well as both stadiums in Seville, and stadiums in Valencia, Bilbao, Malaga, Zaragoza, Vigo, A Coruña, Gijón, and Elche.

In Portugal, the host cities are rumoured to be Lisbon, Porto, Braga and Faro.

The newly renovated Bernabéu will be ready for 2030. Credit: Real Madrid

Infrastructure 

But it’s not just about stadiums. Host countries are expected to be able to demonstrate the organisational and infrastructural capabilities necessary to make sure all the hosting off the pitch runs smoothly.

It is believed neither Spain nor Portugal should have any trouble satisfying FIFA’s stadium criteria, with includes capacity of a minimum of 40,000 spectators for the matches in the group stages, 60,000 spectators for the semifinals, and a minimum of 80,000 spectators for the opening and final matches.

Stadiums must also meet the requirements to be rated as 4-star category stadiums, something neither Spain or Portugal, two football obsessed countries with huge leagues, will worry about.

In addition to host stadiums, the Spanish-Portuguese proposal has outlined 72 sub-headquarters across the Iberian peninsula, 54 of which are in Spain, that would provide transport, hospitality, organisation and infrastructure support.

This is because potential hosts are also required to satisfy complimentary competition infrastructure criteria, including outdoor areas adjacent to the stadium big enough to host TV and security areas, something both Spain and Portugal are accustomed to as they both regularly host Champions League and Europe League matches, but also parking areas with a minimum capacity of 5,000 spaces on match days.

The 2030 World Cup would also be a boon for Spain’s famous hospitality sector, as FIFA requires host nations have three or four 5-star hotels within 40km from the match headquarters, a passenger airport with within 40km from the headquarters, a railway center near the headquarters, and at least four training centers within 40km.

Rival bids

With their rich footballing history, expansive infrastructure, and fluid border between the two, Spain and Portugal’s Iberian World Cup bid is a strong one. But they won’t be the only countries hoping to host to 2030 tournament, however.

It is is believed government and footballing bodies in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile are also working on a four-nation bid to celebrate the centenary of the first World Cup held in 1930 in Uruguay. 

For several years it was believed that a joint UK and Ireland bid would be the biggest threat to Spain and Portugal’s, but the prospect of an Iberian 2030 World Cup was given a boost when the UK and Ireland withdrew their interest to bid instead for the Euro 2028 competition.

It has been reported that China and South Korea may also be mulling a bid.

The final decision on who will host the 2030 event is set for after the 2022 World Cup, with voting slated for the end of the year.

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