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No arrests after Champions final
May 22, 2008 13:34 IST
Thousands of English soccer fans flew out of Moscow [Images] on Thursday after a Champions League final that passed off with no reports of serious trouble among supporters.
Moscow city police said there had been no arrests among more than 40,000 visiting fans. In the first all-English Champions League final, Manchester United [Images] beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout.
"Everything was calm, there were no big fights," said a police spokesman.
"The fans, both Russian and English, were followed by policemen to provide a stable and calm situation at night. No one was detained."
There had been fears of a repeat of the violence that marred the UEFA [Images] Cup final in Manchester this month between Scottish side Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg [Images] of Russia [Images]. The spokesman said 5,000 police had been on duty.
A British embassy spokesman praised the Russian authorities' handling of the event, the first time in nine years that Moscow had hosted the final of a major European soccer tournament.
"The security and organisational facilities the Russians put in place have worked out fantastically," said the spokesman.
"We've seen literally a handful of cases, none of which we class as serious. We're not aware of any arrests," he said.
In one incident before the match which was witnessed by a Reuters photographer, a small group of Manchester United fans clashed with some local men. Bottles were hurled but no one was hurt.
After the game ended, riot police watched fans as they filed out of the Luzhniki stadium on to dozens of waiting buses or headed to the metro.
Red and yellow flags decked out Moscow's streets, an artificial soccer pitch dominated Red Square and both sets of fans sang and danced in the streets before the match, many wearing souvenir traditional Russian hats.
Matt from northern England [Images] strolled along a street in central Moscow after the match with his father and brother.
He wore a red Manchester United soccer shirt and had flown via Istanbul to see the final. Like most other fans, he praised the Russian organisation.
"We've been to many matches in Europe before and normally after a match it is heaving. Here it's very quiet, organised."
UEFA Champions League 2007-08: The Complete Coverage