Europa League: Police officer dies as fans clash before Athletic Bilbao-Spartak Moscow

A police officer has died in Bilbao, Spain before the start of Thursday's Europa League match between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow, according to the Associated Press.

Marca reports that the man who died, Inocencio Arias Garcia, 50, suffered a heart attack during the clashes outside of San Mames Stadium with ultras and later died at the hospital. The scenes from Bilbao featured unbelievable amounts of violence as hooligans were spotted throwing glasses and flares at the Spanish police. 

 The Spanish soccer league released the following statement:

It remains to be seen if UEFA will come down hard as a result of the violence outside the stadium. The European soccer governing body typically hands down heavy fines to the clubs involved and stiff punishment to the fans, like banning suspects for life or forcing the teams to play behind closed doors. 

The game -- obviously secondary to many soccer fans on the night -- was never paused in light of the tragic events outside the stadium. Spartak won the second leg 2-1 but Bilbao advanced to the round of 16 with a 4-3 advantage on aggregate.  

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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