Barcelona: Two Paris Saint-Germain supporters were stabbed in two separate incidents near Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium on Wednesday following a Champions League match between the two sides, Spanish police said.
The two victims, whose injuries were not life-threatening, were taken to hospital for treatment, a police spokesman said. One of the two victims remained in hospital. In the first attack a French football fan who had just left the Camp Nou stadium was approached by two men dressed in dark clothing and wearing ski-masks who wounded him with a knife, a police statement said.
"The victim, who was accompanied by other PSG supporters, was taken to hospital where he continues to be treated," it said. Shortly afterwards three French youths who had also attended the match were assaulted on a nearby street by "several individuals", the statement added. One of the French youths was injured by a knife and taken to hospital but has already been discharged, police said. Police said they were investigating the motive of the attacks and working to identify those responsible.
One of the two stabbings could have nothing to do with football and could be an attempted mugging, a police spokesman said. But Guillaume Pretot, a friend of the victim of the first attack who witnessed the stabbing, said he had no doubt it was football related since they were both wearing PSG t-shirts at the time and no attempt was made to steal anything.
"I had the instinct to leave and I saw that my friend did not manage to get away, he was on the ground and they were taking him to a parking entrance," he told AFP. "My friend was stabbed three times. He was injured in the thorax. It was clearly an attack by hooligans," Pretot, who lives in Barcelona, told AFP. His 28-year-old friend is stable and conscious, a spokesman for Barcelona's Hospital Clinic said.
The hospital will not provide further information on his status at the request of the patient, the spokesman added. FC Barcelona has not commented on the attacks while Joaquin Form, who is responsible for security at Barcelona city hall, said he could not say if the injuries were due to a clash between rival fans. The attacks came ten days after a Deportivo fan was killed after being beaten and pushed into a river during clashes outside Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium before a La Liga match that involved dozens of fans from rival groups.
Police took 24 people into custody, all members of radical fan groups from Deportivo and Atletico, as well as two other Madrid clubs, Rayo Vallecano and Alcorcon. The Spanish government sacked the security coordinators at the two clubs following the brawl in which rioters rampaged with metal bars and knives. Spanish football authorities and the government have vowed to banish members of violent and abusive supporters' groups known as "ultras" from stadiums and their surroundings following the brawl.
Spain's Football Federation and the government-controlled Higher Sports Council have said tougher sanctions for clubs over violent behaviour by supporters will come into force on December 15. Barcelona won Wednesday's match 3-1 with goals by Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Sanchez but both sides qualified for the last 16 knockout stages of the competition.