Fiorentina 'strongly condemn' West Ham fans and tell UEFA 'set an example' with punishment

Fiorentina have claimed that their players feared for their safety during their Europa Conference League final against West Ham. captain Cristiano Biraghi was left with a bloodied head after being struck by missiles thrown by Hammers fans. 

West Ham’s first major trophy since 1980 was overshadowed by disorder among a minority of supporters. Biraghi was struck by a stream of plastic cups tossed towards the left-back while he tried to take a corner. 

The Serie A side have said that the incident affected the performance of their players. Biraghi was able to continue playing but sported a large bandage to cover the wound. 

“Fiorentina strongly condemn what happened to their captain, Cristiano Biraghi, during the Conference League final between Fiorentina and West Ham last night,” a club statement said. 

“Biraghi was hit on the head by an object thrown from the stand housing West Ham fans in the 33rd minute of the first half while he was about to take a corner kick. This unacceptable behaviour obviously affected the performance of the footballer and his team-mates, who had their attention drawn away from footballing matters by the threats to their own safety.

“The Viola captain, despite suffering a deep wound to his head requiring eight stitches, continued to play on. Biraghi displayed the values of fairness, integrity and sportsmanship which should be the benchmark for all football and that Fiorentina seek to champion with all of their power.

“The club is certain that UEFA will thoroughly evaluate the incident and duly punish those responsible for this act, delivering an appropriate response and setting an example so that such situations never occur again.”

West Ham have pledged to liaise with the police to identify those responsible. “We will work with the police and other stakeholders to review the incidents and act against anyone found guilty of an offence,” the Premier League club said. 

“In line with our zero-tolerance approach, anyone identified will have their details passed to the police and will be given an indefinite ban and therefore be unable to enter London Stadium and travel with the club. There is no place for this kind of behaviour.”

West Ham fans were banned from travelling to a Europa League tie against Rapid Vienna in 2021 after fans aimed missiles during a previous match against Genk. UEFA are therefore set to take a dim view on a similar incident and supporters may face a ban from one of the club's Europa League games next season. 

Goals by Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen secured West Ham's first major trophy in over 40 years on Wednesday night. Bowen's 90th-minute strike was the difference in a 2-1 win over the Italian outfit, who had equalised through Giacomo Bonaventura. 

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