Belfast Telegraph

Police apologise over football riot

Police have apologised for not making public details of a sectarian riot that broke out outside a Belfast nightspot in the wake of an Old Firm derby.

Nine people were arrested in the clashes between around 100 people on the entrance to the Odyssey Complex in the east of the city in the early hours of Monday.

The disturbance, which saw a 28-year-old woman taken to hospital with face injuries, was triggered after rival groups started chanting sectarian slogans after Rangers defeated Celtic 2-1 in the Scottish League Cup final at Hampden Park on Sunday.

Police dogs were used to quell the violence, which lasted for an hour and a half.

Details of the incident only emerged on Friday, prompting questions to the Police Service of Northern Ireland why they had not released information to the media.

A police spokeswoman conceded a mistake had been made.

"The PSNI release details of incidents based on investigative requirements, however, we are committed to transparency and openness and realise that this was a serious incident," she said.

"We apologise that details were not released to the media at an earlier time."

It is understood nightclubs within the entertainment complex have agreed to voluntarily limit opening hours and drinks promotions in the coming weeks in a effort to avoid another incident.

Two women and seven men were arrested. They were all aged between 18 and 23. All have been subsequently released pending police reports to prosecutors.

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