November 06, 2012

PARIS (AP) -- Twenty-eight people have been arrested after a brawl in central Paris between fans of Paris Saint-German and Dinamo Zagreb before their Champions League match.

At least two people were injured in the Monday night fight near the Bastille, police told the Sipa news agency.

The Croatian fans weren't allowed to buy tickets for the Tuesday match and were banned from France amid fears of hooliganism.

About 100 PSG supporters were turned back from the Croatian border ahead of the Oct. 24 match to head off similar problems.

Hooliganism has been rife among a section of hardcore PSG supporters since 1985, until a crackdown by the club following the deaths of two supporters in 2006 and 2010.

"I strongly condemn the serious public order disturbances that happened last night,'' Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said in a statement. "I would like to salute the rapid response of the police service.''

Two weeks ago, PSG hooligans tried to travel independently of the club but were foiled by border police trying to cross into Croatia from Slovenia, with cars rented in Italy.

PSG's reincarnation into a big-spending club chasing big names comes after years of disarray.

Not so long ago, PSG dominated the headlines because of its inability to deal with a festering hooligan problem anchored in political divide and racism, which cropped up at regular intervals from the mid-1980s until 2010.

Two ends of Parc des Princes - the Kop Boulogne and Tribune Auteuil - were violently opposed.

Boulogne was a Caucasian stronghold, with far-right elements making their presence known. Auteuil's end was mixed-raced - a noteworthy fact only because of its juxtaposition with Boulogne.

The club, claiming it needed police and government intervention, looked on as groups representing each end fought regularly from 2003-10.

PSG fan Yann Lorence died early last year after being caught up in fighting before a match against Marseille, when about 130 thugs from Kop Boulogne charged their Auteuil rivals.

In November 2006, an off-duty police officer shot and killed Julien Quemener, who was part of a Kop Boulogne group that chased and cornered a Jewish fan after PSG's UEFA Cup match against Hapoel Tel Aviv.

The last time PSG played in the Champions League in the 2004-2005 season, there were violent clashes near the stadium with rival hooligans from Chelsea and CSKA Moscow. Four years ago, hooligans from PSG and FC Twente scattered Christmas shoppers as they clashed violently in broad daylight in the city's historical center, Saint-Michel, and later outside the stadium.

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