Celtic have announced that an internal investigation will be carried out on the skirmishes between fans that broke out in Amsterdam’s city centre on Wednesday night.
Six Celtic fans will be brought before a judge today after some of the worst football-related violence involving a British team in recent years.
Eighteen remained in custody in the Netherlands last night, 12 of whom were due to be released after paying fines in the region of €500 (£420).
In total, 44 people were arrested following Wednesday night’s disorder, 28 of them Scottish, with some already having been fined and released.
Dutch police said the violence was triggered by Dutch fans stealing a Scottish flag, with the travelling supporters throwing glass bottles in retaliation. Plain-clothes police then stepped in and the fighting ensued.
Videos posted to YouTube show trouble on the streets of Amsterdam before Celtic’s Champions League game against Ajax. Fans are seen throwing bottles at people as they board a tram.
Police armed with batons, including many on horseback, are seen attempting to bring the situation under control.
Fans clash with other fans, and with police. During the violence some fans can be seen wearing Celtic shirts, while others are chanting, “Celtic, Celtic”.
Later, the streets are shown to be littered with debris, including smashed glass from a number of beer bottles. A few dazed and apparently injured people can been seen being helped to their feet by police.
A police spokesman said: “Six people will be brought in front of an investigative judge and he will decide what happens next. They have been held for fighting with police.”
Asked what started the disorder, he added: “It looks like a few Ajax fans took a Scottish flag and then some people started throwing bottles at them.”
Police officers in plain clothes went to arrest them and all hell broke loose. They were throwing bottles at other people who had taken the flag.
“Eight police officers were injured – broken nose, holes in their heads, eyebrows cut. One policeman was knocked unconscious.”
He said he was not aware of any fans of either club being seriously injured.
Celtic last night issued a statement claiming its supporters were subjected to “a high degree of provocation” and that there had been “an organised attack on a group” in Amsterdam.
It read: “There is no question Celtic supporters have been subjected to a high degree of provocation.” The club announced it had opened an internal investigation to “fully understand events” in response to claims from their fans that they were poorly treated.
But it added: “We would stress that there is no excuse for any form of violent conduct.
Second night of violence
There had earlier been trouble on Tuesday, the night before the game, when dozens of Dutch hooligans descended on the Old Sailor Cafe, in the city’s red light district.
They banged on the glass and at least one man was repeatedly punched before police arrived. The whole incident lasted less than a minute. Nine Ajax fans were arrested.
There has been repeated problems with Dutch football hooliganism in recent years and two weeks ago Ajax fans ripped up 300 seats and damaged the stadium at Celtic Park following a fixture between the sides which Celtic won 2-1.
Fans ‘provoked’, say Celtic
Celtic said in a statement on their website: “We have been informed that there are five individuals detained in Holland. We are not clear if they have any formal association with the Club, however, we will be liaising with the local authorities in Amsterdam, our own police and the British Consulate in order to fully understand events. We would stress that there is no excuse for any form of violent conduct.
“In addition, we have received numerous complaints from Celtic supporters in relation to their treatment in Amsterdam, which we will also investigate fully.
“There is no question that Celtic supporters have been subjected to a high degree of provocation.”
The club added: “Once again the overwhelming majority of our supporters behaved impeccably.”
There has been repeated problems with Dutch football hooliganism in recent years, and two weeks ago Ajax fans ripped up seats and damaged the stadium at Celtic Park following another fixture between the two sides.
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