Eintracht Frankfurt fans clashed with police on Wednesday, March 14, 2023, after arriving in Naples despite being banned from the Champions League last-16 match against Napoli.
The away fans were barred from the second leg after incidents at their first meeting last month, and the ban was enforced to ensure the safety of all fans and players.
However, a group of hundreds of Eintracht supporters clashed with the police, and local media reported that Napoli ultras also attacked the German fans.
The clashes led to a police car being set on fire, and smoke bombs and flares were thrown at officers.
The police responded with tear gas, causing terror among passers-by and shopkeepers. Footage shared on social media showed chairs and flares being thrown at a small number of police dressed in riot gear.
Shocking scenes in Napoli. For all the beauty of German fan culture, this is absolutely shameful from Eintracht Frankfurt fans. No motive can justify it.pic.twitter.com/PpMtpZeYD1— Adriano Del Monte (@adriandelmonte) March 15, 2023
The incidents were condemned by Italian authorities, including deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, who called the Eintracht fans “criminals” and “thugs.”
Eintracht board member Philipp Reschke said that trouble began when a group of 150 locals attacked away supporters while they were being escorted by the police.
He added that the groups seemed to have found each other and that the most important thing was that there were no injuries, not even with the police.
German interior minister Nancy Faeser also condemned the violence and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Napoli & Frankfurt ‘fans’ clash before their UCL matchup tonight.— Barstool Football (@StoolFootball) March 15, 2023
I mean… what’s the point? 😒
Despite the clashes outside the stadium, the match was played without incident inside, with Napoli winning 3-0 to progress to the quarter-finals.
However, UEFA charged Eintracht Frankfurt with racist behavior, lighting of fireworks, throwing of objects, and acts of damage following a Champions League tie in Marseille in September.
Nine people were taken into custody after the first leg against Napoli, and the latest incident is likely to result in further sanctions for the German club.
The clashes in Naples highlight the ongoing issue of violence and hooliganism in football, which has plagued the sport for many years.