Bar owners in Madrid are dreading this Saturday’s Champions League Final between Liverpool and Tottenham fearing it will be a magnet for hooligans as they get ready for convergence of 70,000 English fans.
Representatives at bars in the Spanish capital state they are worried about the disorder and are getting ready to close and lock their doors before the final starts at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
It comes as the city prepares itself for the entry of a huge number of supporters of both Premier League outfits, this includes an expected 20,000 fans who’ll go without tickets.
Bar owners and staff fearing for the worst
The front page of Monday’s version of Marca, their main football magazine, simply features the headline ‘Fear’ a bit dramatic if you ask me.
They report about the worries of owners and staff in bars around the two assigned fan zones. These being the Plaza de Colon for Tottenham fans and the Felipe II for Liverpool fans.
One bar owner disclosed to Marca that there had been issues already with visiting sports fans for Real Madrid’s Euroleague basketball matches, only there will be a lot more football supporters for the Champions League match.
‘We are assessing whether to close on Saturday and a few friends in the area have officially chosen to close’ they said.
‘We can’t guarantee the security of the premises. We previously had issues with 50 or 100 Serbs who came to see the basketball. That number hardly touches that of the one forecast for this weekend.’
The administrator of the Hard Rock Cafe close to the Plaza de Colon said they are getting ready to draft in extra security for the days around the event.
‘We usually have one guard from a private security firm on duty at any time, from Thursday to Sunday we will have eight,’ they said.
‘We are concerned about the possibility that something like what occurred in last season’s semi-final between Liverpool and Roma may happen again. That is the reason we have prepared ourselves.’
The bigger worry around the city is about the 20,000 or so Liverpool and Spurs fans that won’t have tickets for the game and will cause issues in the city such as overcrowding and anti-social behaviour.
It is estimated that 70,000 Liverpool and Tottenham supporters are set to visit Madrid
One hotel chief in the Goya zone was cited by Marca as saying: ‘I think that if nearly 60,000 or 70,000 fans are going to come, the Felipe II square and the Plaza de Colon are going to be too small.’
In spite of the feelings of worriedness towards the potential hooliganism, bar proprietors are planning to bring in additional provisions of lager to satisfy the thirst of the English guests.
One bar owner stated: ‘Ordinarily we utilize two barrels per week, however for Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week we have arranged a request of three barrels every day so altogether there will be nine.’