Chelsea supporters shouting support for exiled owner Roman Abramovich has clashed with French police ahead of their side’s Champions League clash with Lille.
The Blues face the Ligue 1 side in the second leg of their last 16 clash on Wednesday night, with the game not being hit by the restrictions that have left Chelsea unable to sell tickets. That has meant that a large contingent of supporters have travelled for the huge game, with the Blues defending champions in the competition.
The Premier League giants are being forced to play under a special licence after Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich has been disqualified as a director for his alleged close ties to Vladimir Putin, but that has not stopped Blues fans showing their support for the Russian.
They have frequently chanted his name ahead of recent games in the top-flight and have also been heard singing it in the streets of Lille. According to the Daily Mail, a large crowd of Blues fans built up in a bar opposite the city’s train station.
French police in riot gear are said to have moved in on the crowd, with the Chelsea fans throwing beer bottles at them in response. The Gendarmes sent in ‘snatch squads’ to arrest the ringleaders with tear gas also being deployed.
More than 2,000 Chelsea fans are understood to have travelled for the game, with many seen drinking heavily almost as soon as they arrived in France. The Lille police have slammed the supporters for their actions, with ‘pockets’ of trouble still springing up.
“We were called to the bar following complaints about the behaviour of the supporters. Roads around the area have been cordoned off and there are still isolated pockets of trouble around the city,” a police spokesperson said.