Manchester United v Ajax: 'Naive' to expect no trouble in Europa final say police

Manchester United players
Follow live radio and text commentary of Ajax v Manchester United in the Europa League final on 5 live, the BBC Sport website and mobile app
Europa League final - Manchester United v Ajax
Venue: Friends Arena, Stockholm Date: Wednesday 24 May Time: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Follow live radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and mobile app

A senior Manchester police chief says it would be "naive" to think Wednesday's Europa League final in Stockholm will be trouble free.

Riot police needed to intervene to keep Manchester United and Ajax fans apart when they met in Amsterdam in 2012.

Ticketless fans are expected in Sweden, having missed out on both club's official allocations of 9,500.

"You would be naive to think you are not going to get anything," said chief superintendent John O'Hare.

"It is a final, in Europe, between two really big, established, well-supported teams. There will always be a minority of individuals who want to use this as cover to cause trouble," the Greater Manchester Police officer added.

O'Hare and a small team of officers who specialise in monitoring United games will be in the Swedish capital to work with Swedish and Dutch counterparts.

They will also liaise with Europe's governing body Uefa and the clubs themselves in an effort to ensure the game passes off without incident.

He is encouraged by the knowledge Swedish police are likely to adopt an "engaging, front-facing" approach, which he feels will help avoid the kinds of scenes witnessed in Madrid last month when Spanish police clashed with Leicester City supporters ahead of their side's Champions League quarter-final with Atletico Madrid.

On that occasion, Madrid police were criticised for their approach as several fans were hurt.

O'Hare said: "English football fans have a certain way of behaving, which we understand as being jubilant and non-threatening.

"It is about making sure the Swedish police understand the context and only employ the tactics that are appropriate at that moment in time.

"Often in Manchester we have found you get more response by talking to people than coming at them with batons.

"That is not the way we do business and we will try our very best to ensure that is not the way they do business over in Stockholm."

O'Hare also confirmed there would be a significant police presence in Manchester city centre on Wednesday night.

United are looking to win the Europa League for the first time and join Ajax as one of only five teams to have won all three major European competitions.

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