Bolton Wanderers have made an official complaint to European football’s governing body Uefa about “overzealous and disproportionate” treatment of their supporters by Spanish police after the 0-0 draw at Atletico Madrid last Wednesday night. Bolton said there were “a number of assaults and unprovoked baton charges” and about 17 fans were injured. James Kirk, one of an estimated 3,500 Bolton fans in Madrid, said: “We came out of the stadium and just as we came down loads of police with shields and batons rushed back just where we’d come from. They were battering people to the ground – it was absolutely brutal and appalling.” The football club is liaising with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the British Embassy to try to establish what happened. Ch Supt Dave Lea, of GMP, said the problems started when police baton charged hundreds of Madrid fans out of the stadium: “That incident has probably set the tone for the policing of the whole match and unfortunately the Madrid police have a reputation for not taking dissent very well.” He said a number of sporadic incidents followed which resulted in police being “very heavy-handed” with the Bolton fans, and he blamed senior officers for the problems: “They didn’t have enough control over their junior officers who were far too quick to use their batons rather than talking to the fans who would comply with their instructions.” He said lessons need to be learned and he would make sure his observations would be captured in a full report for the Uefa security investigation that will take place.


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