Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has urged fans not to be discouraged from going to France for the second leg of the Champions League quarter final against Paris Saint-Germain after a group of French supporters were found travelling with weapons at the first leg on Thursday night.
After reports of vandalism at Chelsea's Kingsmeadow stadium on Thursday morning, as well as disorder at two London stations, police searched a coach that had travelled overnight from Paris and confirmed that knives, knuckledusters and Class A drugs were found on board.
One fan was arrested for possession of Class A drugs and the others were escorted away.
This is the coach of PSG supporters being sent back to France. I’m told there were weapons - knuckle duster and knives - plus drugs on board. They damaged Chelsea’s Kingsmeadow ground this morning before returning later. Banned from PSG men’s and youth games but not women’s. pic.twitter.com/5u1IdTvUTm— Jacqui Oatley (@JacquiOatley) March 21, 2019
Broadcaster Jacqui Oatley tweeted that the group in question were already banned from attending PSG men's and youth games, but not from women's games.
Some French fans were allowed entry, but PSG have put their full support behind those who were denied it, issuing a statement insisting there is 'no evidence of wrongdoing, or at least no fact the gravity of which would justify such a ban on attending the match.'
The French club also argues, citing alleged local testimony, the damage at Kingsmeadow - alleged to be pro-PSG graffiti - had happened prior to their fans arriving in London.
Hayes, however, does not want Chelsea fans to be put off going to the away leg next week (27 March).
"We have to remember that the women's game is progressing, that fans are following, and with that comes the same level of scrutiny," the Chelsea boss said, as quoted by BBC Sport.
"Ultimately they have to behave, whether it's our fans or their fans. The police dealt with it in the right way. I'm sure our security will be well briefed. The police took care of what they had to, and I expect the organisation and preparation for that will make sure that our fans are safe.
"I don't think we should discourage anyone from going."
On the pitch, reigning Women's Super League champions Chelsea hold a commanding lead over PSG, finalists in 2015 and 2017, at the halfway stage after winning the first leg 2-0.
Late goals from Hannah Blundell and Erin Cuthbert were the difference on the night. Star Fran Kirby, who began the game on the bench, missed opportunities to extend the lead and tweeted her disappointment afterwards, but expressed gratitude to have been involved in an important win.
I get so disappointed in myself when I miss an opportunity for the team, but I’m glad I can contribute in other ways💪🏻— Fran Kirby (@frankirby) March 21, 2019
Proud of whole team today, great win against a very good team! Looking forward to getting back on the pitch and preparing for the next one! Thanks to the fans💙 pic.twitter.com/CeePVHrJDG
Chelsea are looking to reach the semi finals for the second successive year after also reaching the last four in 2017/18, ultimately succumbing to Wolfsburg at that stage.
Lyon have won the Women's Champions League in each of the last three seasons and in five of the last eight, while Swedish side Tyreso (2014) are the only non-French or German club to have even reached the final since 2009, such is the dual dominance from France and Germany.