Ultras "do not travel", say police

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A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has claimed that AS Roma's militant fanbase, the 'Ultras', historically do not travel abroad.

The news will come as a great relief to the city's football fans who are preparing to head to Old Trafford tonight to watch Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final clash with the Italian club.

The headlines after the first leg, which United lost 2-1 in the Stadio Olimpico, were dominated by the unrest in the stands when several English fans claimed they were the victims of "indiscriminate beatings" from Italian riot police.

However, Superintendent Charlie Coxon of GMP, said that he does not expect any repeat of the ugly scenes from the Italian capital at tonight's game.

"History shows the Ultras don't travel abroad to follow the team," he said.

"We have Italian police officers who have come across, so if any of the known Ultras do appear, they will see them.

"We also have a full police operation at Manchester airport to make sure everything is very safe, but we do not expect any of them to come."

Meanwhile, Chelsea have released a statement of their own ahead of their Champions League quarter-final second leg in Valencia tonight, which aims to ensure their fans enjoy a hospitable welcome and a safe trip.

"In light of recent events involving travelling English fans with their clubs, Chelsea football club would like to reassure our supporters that every step is being taken to ensure their safety for the second leg against Valencia. The safety of our supporters is paramount," the statement read.

"The two clubs, both sets of supporters and the various English and Spanish authorities enjoyed excellent dialogue and relations in the organisation and staging of a trouble-free first leg and that tone has continued in the run-up to the second leg."

The statement also quoted a spokesman for the Valencia police, who said: "We are not expecting any problems, we have many big clubs here and have had English clubs before and there have never been problems."

The focus on preventing crowd trouble at this evening's games stems from the violent clashes in the stands in Rome involving travelling Manchester United fans last Wednesday, which was followed by a confrontation between Tottenham Hotspur fans and Seville police during the Uefa Cup quarter-final between Spurs and Sevilla in Spain last Thursday.

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