South West Wales

Europa League: Police confident over Napoli's Swansea visit

Napoli fans will visit the Liberty Stadium in the first leg of the tie Image copyright AFP
Image caption Napoli fans will visit the Liberty Stadium in the first leg of the tie on 20 February

Police say they are confident the visit of Italian side Napoli to Swansea for Thursday's Europa League match will be trouble-free.

About 800 fans are believed to have travelled to south Wales for the trip from Naples.

But previous European matches involving Napoli have seen crowd trouble.

In October, a man was taken to hospital with head injuries after an incident before the Champions League match against Arsenal in London.

South Wales Police have been working with Italian police as well as both clubs to ensure all fans are safe.

A plan is also in place for the influx of Napoli fans into Swansea city centre before and after the game.

Match commander Supt Phil Davies said: "This is probably one of the highest-profile European ties Swansea has played for many years and once again we want everyone to enjoy what the city has to offer for visitors.

"I am sure Napoli fans will be given a warm welcome by the people of Swansea and I hope they enjoy their stay in Wales.

"Throughout all of the Swansea games in Europe, both home and away, the fans have behaved impeccably and there is absolutely no reason why this tie should be any different."

The Swans reached the last 32 of the Europa League by finishing second in their group, while Napoli entered the competition after being knocked out of the Champions League.

Bus convoy

Swansea fans travelling to the second leg in Italy next week have been told to take care following previous violent incidents in Naples.

Fans are being urged to travel in groups, avoid public transport and not wear club colours away from the ground.

A convoy of free buses will travel from the port area to the Stadio San Paolo where match tickets and ID will be needed.

The buses are being laid on to avoid known hot-spots for trouble such as the Forcella and Quartieri Spagnoli area.

Supporters travelling on buses from Rome and Sorrento will also be escorted to the ground.

Advice for visiting supporters to Naples is not uncommon given problems with the Italian side's hardcore fans.

In 2010, Liverpool followers were stabbed, chased and threatened ahead of a Europa League match in the city.

This season Napoli were warned they could be forced to play matches behind closed doors after trouble when they hosted Marseille.

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