West Ham players who defended families from AZ Alkmaar ultras face UEFA charge

Moyes concerned for family after trouble mars West Ham victory

West Ham stars who defended their families from AZ Alkmaar ultras reportedly face being charged by UEFA over the ugly scenes. The likes of Declan Rice and Said Benrahma were seen attempting to prevent Dutch fans from entering the dedicated section for their friends and family after their Europa Conference League triumph.

A group of around 100 AZ fans were angered by the jubilant West Ham fans after Pablo Fornals scored the only goal at the AFAS Stadium. They then attempted to storm the area at full-time, with West Ham stars rushing over to protect those close to them. 

In one piece of footage, Rice is seen furiously throwing an object back into the crowd, such was his anger over the situation. The Hammers captain and his team-mates were furious that they were unable to celebrate their historic victory with their families. 

UEFA is set to take a dim view of the tension, with AZ supposed to be observing a probation period of good behaviour. But the governing body could apparently come down hard on the West Ham players for their involvement. 

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According to the Daily Telegraph, UEFA is under pressure over the timing of how it will carry out an investigation. The report adds that UEFA does not want West Ham’s stars to miss the final, but knows it must carry out due process. 

Silence from UEFA since the incident suggests it could allow any investigation to continue beyond the June 7 date for the final, in which West Ham will face Fiorentina in Prague. Rice, Benrahma, Flynn Downes and Michail Antonio are reportedly the players most at risk of punishment. 

David Moyes’ 87-year-old father was seated in the section that AZ fans attempted to gain access to. Security attempted to escort the West Ham boss to the dressing room but the Scot insisted on attempting to cool tensions. 

“I can’t explain what happened and why it happened. The players were involved because it was the family section. That was probably the reason for the reaction,” Moyes explained.

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“I don’t want that in any way to blight the night because the West Ham fans weren’t looking for trouble. Hopefully they’ll look into it.

“My family were there and I had friends in that section. You’re hoping they would try and get themselves away from it. I didn’t recognise it because I was too happy. Security wanted to take me inside but I had to make sure my players weren’t involved.”

Fornals’ late goal sealed a 3-1 aggregate win over AZ. The victory sets up West Ham’s first European final in 47 years. 

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