South West Wales

Europa League: Anger as Swansea fans miss Napoli kick off

Many of the 800 Swansea City fans missed kick off in Italy following delays Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many of the 800 Swansea City fans missed kick off in Italy following delays

Swansea City fans have demanded answers after hundreds missed the first half hour of their side's Uefa Europa League match against Napoli in Naples.

Those affected were on police-escorted buses to the Stadio San Paolo to ensure they arrived safely as there has been trouble involving Napoli in previous European matches against other teams.

Arsenal fans had similar bus delays when they played Napoli in December.

The Swans lost the match 3-1 and are out of the competition.

Swansea City and the Italian police have been asked to comment.

After the game, vice-chairman Leigh Dineen tweeted: "Heard our fans poorly treated - same as Arsenal were.

"Uefa need to take a long hard look at themselves."

Phil Sumbler, chairman of Swansea City Supporters' Trust, was on one of the buses.

"It was massively frustrating," he told BBC Wales. "We had read the reports of the same thing happening to Arsenal when they came over in December.

"It seems to be a deliberate ploy by the police to keep the Napoli fans away from us and Uefa should be looking at this.

"Why should visiting fans miss the start of the game because of the home fans? Uefa should clamp down."

Around 900 supporters made the trip to Italy for the Round of 32 second leg match.

Many of them followed safety advice to avoid public transport and instead use a convoy of buses escorted by police from the port area to the Stadio San Paolo.

The convoy was set up to keep visiting fans away from known hot-spots for hooligan trouble such as the Forcella and Quartieri Spagnoli areas.

'Swarming in'

But it is understood the 15 minute journey from the port took 75 minutes while the other buses coming into the city from Rome and Sorrento carrying another 300 fans were also delayed.

Mr Sumbler, who was on one of six buses from Rome, added: "We got in a couple of minutes before Napoli scored [in the 17th minute] but that's probably because we were towards the front of the escort.

"There were people swarming in after us and some missed the Swans' goal [in the 30th minute]."

However, Uefa said the issue was a matter for the local authorities.

A spokesman added: "In the official report to Uefa, nothing is mentioned. If it happened outside the stadium, then it's a matter for the local authorities. It is outside the Uefa umbrella."

Arsenal fans experienced similar problems when they travelled to Naples for a Champions League group match in December.

Along with the Football Association and British Consulate, Arsenal wrote to Uefa following the game after plans put in place ahead of the trip did not happen on the night.

It is not yet known if the Swans will take similar action.

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.

Napoli will now face Porto in the last 16 while the Swans are left to focus on securing their Premier League status.

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