West Ham players clash with AZ Alkmaar fans in an effort to protect families inside the stadium

Adam Davey / AP

Fans and players clashed in the stands behind the dugouts on Thursday.


West Ham players confronted a group of AZ Alkmaar fans at the close of Thursday’s team game after a section of the pitch housing the Premier League team’s friends and families was attacked.

The ugly scenes inside the AFAS stadium in the Netherlands came after West Ham’s 1-0 victory in the UEFA League semi-final second leg, a win that secured the English club its first European final since 1976.

West Ham players were celebrating their famous victory on the field when a group of Arizona fans started causing trouble, with videos on social media showing the fans, dressed in black, pulling over the fence and then running towards the bleachers over the dugout. before throwing punches at the people in the podium.

Video clips also showed a number of West Ham players jumping over the panels in an attempt to intervene before security arrived to calm the situation.

“We’ll need to wait for the dust to settle and see what it is, but I think the biggest problem was in the area where all the players were all their families,” West Ham boss David Moyes told BT Sport after the match.

“This is where the problem came in, and a lot of players got angry because they couldn’t tell if they were okay.”

Moyes said he had family and friends in this particular section, and admitted he was concerned when he first saw what was going on.

“What I would not in any way want to do is pickle us off tonight because it was certainly not the West Ham supporters looking for trouble,” he told reporters.

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“Security wanted to take me inside, but I had to make sure my players wouldn’t be involved.”

Pirushka van de Woo/Reuters

Tensions ran high during the second leg of the semifinals.

West Ham’s top scorer last night, Pablo Fornals, said he was concerned when he saw a group of fans running towards the stands.

“I was really worried about the state of my team-mates’ family and the West Ham family,” he told Sky Sports.

“Hopefully everyone is okay and the police can do their job and find out who did it.”

Geoff Pearson, an expert on crowd behavior at football stadiums, wrote on Twitter that it was a “total failure” from a security point of view.

“Scenes that we used to see regularly outside stadiums on European match days are becoming increasingly common indoors. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed.” He said.

Local police told CNN Sports they will investigate footage of the incident and try to identify the supporters involved. They added that no arrests had been made yet.

In cooperation with AZ, the municipality of Alkmaar and the Public Prosecution Office, we will take stock of the events of last night, which we regret happened. A police statement said this type of behavior had no place in football.

CNN has reached out to West Ham and AZ Alkmaar for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

UEFA, UEFA, UEFA, told CNN it was too early to comment because official reports from all of Thursday’s matches were still being received and reviewed.

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According to Reuters, there was a similar incident after the first leg in London last week when fans of the Arizona team were confronted by West Ham fans.

“What happened last week was very unfortunate and after that you feel the same way as it happened tonight,” Pascal Jansen, coach of AZ Alkmaar, told the BBC.

“I feel a bit ashamed of what happened in our stadium, but you have to control your emotions.”

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