Atletico Madrid-Arsenal Europa League game classified ‘high risk’ by Spanish police

ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti delves into the Europa League semifinal matchups as Arsenal take on Atletico Madrid and Marseille square off with Red Bull Salzburg.

Arsenal’s Europa League semifinal second leg at Atletico Madrid has been classified as “high risk” by the Spanish government’s public safety committee.

Around 3,000 Arsenal fans are expected to travel to the Spanish capital for the return game, on May 3, with the classification meaning there will be extra police and an increased security presence both at the stadium and in the city centre.

In recent years, there have been several incidents around games featuring English teams in Spain.

In October, Liverpool fans complained of assaults by police and stewards at Sevilla during a Champions League group game, with the local authorities saying some visiting supporters had tried to enter the stadium using forged tickets.

Last month, Chelsea urged supporters to get in touch after reports of clashes with police and stewards outside the Camp Nou marred the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against Barcelona.

Eight Leicester City fans were found guilty of public order offences following disturbances before last season’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg defeat at Atletico’s former Vicente Calderon home.

Leicester supporters said police had used tear gas and rubber bullets against them.

There were also clashes between police and Manchester City supporters in both 2016 and 2012.

Real Madrid’s Champions League semifinal second leg against Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu on May 1 has also been declared a “high risk” game.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan