Burning cars, devastated cafés, flares against police officers: Before Eintracht Frankfurt's Champions League game at SSC Naples, serious riots broke out in the southern Italian city. Videos showed that hooligans threw objects such as tables, chairs and firecrackers at the emergency services on Wednesday afternoon. A police car was set on fire.
"It's clear that nobody wants to see that. It's the riots that we've had to fear since the day of the draw. We have to work through that completely. But that takes time," said Philipp Reschke, the Eintracht board member responsible for fan issues before the game kicked off and added: "The most important thing is that there are no injuries. Neither on the police side nor among the fan groups involved."
According to media reports, Frankfurt Ultras attacked the police officers and carabinieri. Amateur footage also showed how Napoli hooligans attacked with sticks and fired pyrotechnics at law enforcement officers. According to police sources, both fan camps were involved in the riots, as reported by the Ansa news agency. "The Naples fans attacked our fans and then what we saw started," reported Reschke. He received this information from the police.
At noon, a few hundred Frankfurters marched through the city together, although it was initially quiet. The Prefecture of Naples had indirectly prevented fans from Frankfurt from entering the stadium by banning ticket sales. Eintracht, outraged by this, waived the contingent of guest tickets and called on their supporters not to travel to Naples.
Despite the appeal, however, a few hundred Frankfurt fans came to Italy. "It has been seen that such decrees are unsuitable," said Reschke. "You can't prevent riots with that."
The fears of the authorities were confirmed on Wednesday afternoon: after a fan march from the port to the city center went largely without incident, the situation escalated before dusk.
Videos showed, among other things, how hooded hooligans devastated the outside area of a bar and threw chairs and tables at the police officers. In the central Piazza del Gesù, the rioters set off flares and also shot them at nearby shops. A police car was set on fire on an access road to the square and burned out. The perpetrators could not immediately be identified by the police.
It took a while for emergency services to get the situation under control. The Frankfurt Ultras were then taken back to their hotel in the harbor district by bus from the city centre. The buses were reportedly pelted with stones and bottles by Napoli fans.
"The scenes of the destruction of our historic city center are unacceptable," said Mayor Gaetano Manfredi. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms these unspeakable acts of those responsible, whoever committed them."