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More than 30 Wales football supporters have been arrested in Armenia ahead of the European Championships qualifying game, leaving the Welsh fans and authorities perplexed and frustrated.

Around 1,200 Welsh supporters traveled to the capital city, Yerevan, for the upcoming match on Saturday. The Football Association of Wales (FAW) confirmed the detention of 32 fans, with the Foreign Office actively involved in the situation.

According to accounts from the detained fans, their arrest came as an unexpected shock. Lefi Gruffudd, one of the arrested fans, described his group's detainment following a pleasant evening in the city as "insulting" and devoid of any explanation. He expressed frustration, citing the lack of clarity from the authorities.

Another fan, Gerallt Dafydd, narrated a similar experience, detailing a sudden aggressive intervention by the police while waiting for a taxi. He recounted a distressing encounter, mentioning police aggression and unwarranted physical force during their arrest.

Despite the fans' insistence that they were innocent, the detention left them emotional and uncertain about the reasons behind their arrest. They mentioned being coerced into signing statements asserting their innocence.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) stated their awareness of the situation and ongoing discussions with both the local police and the Football Supporters' Association, FSA Cymru. Superintendent Steve Rees from South Wales Police, present in Armenia, emphasized that such incidents involving Welsh fans were atypical, given their generally good reputation while traveling abroad.

The Foreign Office assured support for the families of the detained fans, confirming engagement with local authorities to address the matter.

The arrests come after a distressing incident reported by a female fan about an uncomfortable taxi ride where the driver allegedly made inappropriate advances instead of seeking payment.

The stakes for Wales in the upcoming match against Armenia are high, with the possibility of securing qualification for Euro 2024. However, the situation of the arrested fans has cast a shadow over the excitement and anticipation surrounding the match. Photo by Սէրուժ Ուրիշեան (Serouj Ourishian), Wikimedia commons.