Paris Saint-Germain has stood by fans accused by British police of violence and transporting weapons on a bus ahead of Thursday’s Women’s Champions League game against Chelsea.
The French football club released a statement saying “the local authorities have not provided any evidence of wrongdoing“.
The bus, carrying about 50 people, was stopped near the Kingsmeadow Stadium in south London earlier in the day, and one man was arrested for alleged possession of drugs.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said “the remaining passengers were escorted from the area by police”.
Earlier in the day, a group of PSG fans caused “criminal damage” to property near the stadium in Kingston, and there were “sporadic instances of disorder involving visiting supporters at both Waterloo and Wimbledon stations”.
Hannah Blundell celebrates after scoring Chelsea‘s first goal
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said she is expecting a “hostile” second leg on Wednesday in Paris but is confident that fans can safely make the trip.
She added: “We have to remember that the women’s game is progressing.
“And with that comes the same level of scrutiny, and ultimately they have to behave, whether it’s our fans or their fans. The police dealt with it in the right way today.”
PSG issued a club statement criticising the handling of the situation – and claimed no damage had been caused at the stadium by their fans.
They said: “We repeat that the local authorities have not provided any evidence of wrongdoing, at least no fact available justifies such a ban to attend the match.
“All of our supporters have been searched, and if any of these searches or facts had been under criminal law, we can imagine that the concerned supporter(s) would not have been able to leave British territory without being disturbed.
“We express our fullest support to fans of Paris St Germain who, in the middle of the week, had arranged their schedule to come support our women’s team and we count on their fervour during the return match next Wednesday in Paris.”
Goals from Hannah Blundell and Erin Cuthbert sealed a 2-0 quarter-final first-leg victory for Chelsea.