Police arrest Croatian soccer fans ahead of Paris match

Dinamo Zagreb fans light flares during a match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in London on November 6, 2008.

Story highlights

  • Police arrest 103 supporters of Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in Paris
  • 25 French and Croatian fans were arrested Monday night amid violent clashes
  • Dinamo Zagreb play Paris Saint Germain in a Champions League match Tuesday
  • Sport's governing body has previously raised concerns about Croatian fans' hooliganism

French police arrested 103 Croatian soccer fans Tuesday morning ahead of a match between Paris Saint Germain and Dinamo Zagreb, police officials said, amid fears of possible hooliganism.

Some Croatian fans have also been barred from entering a certain zone of the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on Tuesday evening, prefecture spokesman Franck Ernotte said.

Those arrested can be held for up to 24 hours because they've breached an order issued by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on Sunday that banned Dinamo Zagreb fans from coming to Paris, a police statement said.

The Croatian fans are in the French capital as their club plays the Paris side in a Champions League match, due to kick off at 8:45 p.m. local time.

Clashes broke out Monday night between about 50 supporters of the two clubs near the Place de la Bastille in central Paris, police said.

The disorder resulted in 25 arrests, 19 of them Croatian fans and six of them PSG supporters, the police statement said. Three of the Croats had been flagged by Croatian authorities as being particularly violent, it added, while three of the Parisian fans have been barred from the stadium.

Two Croatian fans were injured in the fracas, police said.

The confrontation started with verbal insults but soon turned violent, with some fans carrying batons and tear gas canisters, CNN affiliate BFM-TV reported.

Dinamo Zagreb has yet to win a match in its group of four in the Champions League, with three games played. PSG is in second place in the group.

In a bid to ward off trouble, Croatia turned back dozens of PSG fans on their way to Zagreb in October for the opening fixture between the two sides.

This is not the first time Croatian football fans have been under the spotlight. The national football association was fined during the Euro 2012 tournament this summer for unruly behavior by hardcore supporters.

And last year, the head of European football's governing body, the Union of European Football Associations, met with the Croatian president to stress the importance of tackling football-related violence.

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