A Spanish police officer has died after security forces have been troubled by fans of a Russian football club, Spartak Moscow in Bilbao, Spain, where a European League game was held.
The incident that happened last night has raised concerns because Russia, after less than four months, will be in the World Cup this year and local authorities are putting strict security procedures in place to control hooligans, including Russian fans who caused trouble at the European Championship in France and other major events.
Spartak won the second leg of the round but were knocked out of Europe’s second-tier competition 4-3 after losing the first leg 3-1 in Moscow.
Basque authorities in northern Spain said the police were suspected of having died of heart attack after clashing with fans outside San Mames stadium where the match between Atletico Bilbao and Spartak Moscow took place.
Police said a Russian man was injured in the incident and five other people were arrested — three Russian nationals and two Spaniards.
The identity of the dead officer was not immediately disclosed.
Local media said he was 50 years old. There were conflicting reports about what caused his death, with some saying he took ill during the confrontations and other reports suggesting he was hit by an object during the fighting.
On Thursday, German police have arrested a Russian suspected of seriously injuring a British football fan during the European Championship in France two years ago.
A Uefa statement read: “Uefa strongly condemns the violent clashes which occurred in Bilbao on Thursday night. We are in contact with local authorities to obtain further information on these incidents”.
Uefa sends its sincere condolences to the “family and colleagues of the police officer who passed away tonight”.