A RIOT that broke out between Spurs fans and Spanish police was started by a vicious police assault on a young female supporter, it can be revealed.
The British fan, Chloe Hayes, 22, who had travelled to Seville with her father Paul, was clubbed over the head with a riot baton for arguing with a policeman about her seat.
The incident happened five minutes into the game as dozens of Spurs fans were still being funnelled into the ground due to slow security measures.
Many supporters were unable to find their allotted seats due to a shortage of stewards, resulting in a great deal of confusion.
A complete lack of segregation coupled with the fans missing their team’s first goal – a Robbie Keane shot in the first minute – led to an understandable fraying of tempers.
Although there was no trouble between fans – indeed, the whole day had been mostly good natured – a dozen riot police were suddenly deployed to get them to their seats.
However, instead of asking politely they suddenly shoved one group of fans, with Chloe Haynes being knocked over.
Clearly drunk and now highly agitated, Haynes, in a white Spurs shirt and green Parka coat, started shouting and pointing her finger at one of the policemen.
Although she was a good five feet away, the provocation was enough for him to let fly with his riot baton, striking her head with full force.
In tears and with a nasty bruise on her forehead, she explained: ‘All I was trying to tell him was to find my seat.
She added: ‘We got in late, missed the goal and then got attacked by these mad police. It is out of order.’
It was this unprovoked attack that immediately enraged the fans around the officer – and, in particular, Chloe’s father.
While it sparked a fight between about a dozen supporters and half a dozen riot police, the trouble was quickly quelled.
Within minutes, however, trouble broke out again behind the Tottenham goal, this time as police tried to corral Tottenham supporters.
It was to spark an ugly and senseless riot, which ended in eight arrests and at least a dozen injuries among supporters and policemen.
Fortunately, Tottenham stewards and a number of both Spurs and Seville fans tried to calm things down, but it wasn’t until the police were recalled at half time that trouble stopped.
‘It was completely senseless, provocative policing,’ said Tottenham fan David Mold, from Lymington, Hampshire.
The 39-year-old owner of event management company Four Seasons Event Management, said: ‘They just seemed to be hell bent on starting trouble from the minute we got to the ground. It was like they had been watching the Italian police take on Manchester United fans and wanted a slice of it.
‘It had been a lovely day without an ounce of trouble. All the supporters mixed and got on well, taking pictures and singing songs, but when we got to the ground the mood changed.
‘The police were stopping people coming in. Making it really slow. There were only two turnstiles for us to get through and then they closed one. It took ages and a lot of people missed the first goal. It was like they were trying to wind us up.
‘We ended up going in through the wrong entrance and were surrounded by a sea of red. A lot of fans ended up in the same boat.
‘Luckily we could walk right into our section as the only thing separating the two groups of fans was one line of plastic ticker tape. It was incredible.’
Photographs confirm the lack of segregation, and that most fans were behaving themselves and sticking to their sides.
That is, until the police stepped in.
Spanish fans were also in agreement that it was the police action that had caused the mayhem.
Two Seville fans, both customs officers in the city, said they were shocked at the police behaviour.
While declining to give names, they were happy to be photographed. One said: ‘It is totally bizarre that during the home derby against Betis or for the Real Madrid game there is a long line of police separating fans, but here there was nothing but a line of tape.
‘They should have been here from the beginning or stayed out until trouble actually happened.
‘It was a disgrace and got completely out of hand here due to a couple of aggressive policemen.’
He continued: ‘We have seen no real malice from the Spurs fans and don’t hold them responsible. It is a real shame as it spoiled the whole game.’
After the game, the Spurs fans were led away to their buses and back to the airport. There was apparently little trouble with the thousands who stayed on after the game.
One private security guard working for company Prosecur, hired by the ground, was equally damning about the police operation. He said: ‘The police really lost this one. I can’t understand what their logic was here. Because of them we had to pull women and children out of the trouble from both sets of fans. They lost control. It is very sad.’
Jon Clarke, Sevilla