Arsenal issue statement over Cologne fans, kick-off delay and crowd trouble

51

Arsenal have issued a statement addressing the issues around last night’s delayed kick-off in the Europa League.

There were far more Cologne fans than dedicated away tickets, many of them had tickets in the Arsenal end, and there were minor scuffles and disturbances before and during the game.

This morning the club have issued a statement which says:

Following last night’s UEFA Europa League match with Cologne we would like to stress that fan safety was always our paramount concern and informed all decisions made.

We worked in full consultation with police and UEFA officials on the night and in advance of the game and had taken extensive steps in advance to prevent tickets being sold to visiting supporters.

This included a number of measures including ensuring no tickets were sold via general sale and that no red memberships purchased after the draw were able to be used to get tickets in the home end for this match. We also worked with our colleagues at Cologne to stop supporters travelling without match tickets.

The 3,000 tickets issued to Cologne fans was in line with competition rules but it is clear many more visiting fans arrived, causing significant congestion and disturbance outside the stadium before kick-off. Many tickets were sold through touts and this is very disappointing.

We have launched a full review into the circumstances surrounding the game and will ensure any lessons that can be learned are used in the future.

There are clearly many questions to be answered, from all sides. Arsenal have to manage their ticketing and stadium management better. Cologne as a club need to take their share of responsibility, but credit also has to be given as to how it was dealt with when the problem manifested itself.

Had Arsenal fans behaved the way their fans did somewhere on the continent, the response would likely have been much more heavy handed, and thankfully things passed over peacefully for the most part.

Read today’s Arseblog: Arsenal 3-1 Cologne: A good second half gets Arsenal’s European pantomime underway

51
Leave a Reply

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Little Mozart
Little Mozart

Shocking behaviour. The win seemed even more important after the way their fans acted. I just hope it doesn’t happen again.

Tim
Tim

I disagree.

It’s this kind of passionate and fiery attitude that makes this Europa League campaign an excitement. Cologne is just the beginning, as trips to eastern Europe will be the same vibe. Aside from fighting with Arsenal fans – which is deplorable – it seemed that most were just drunk, jubilant fans that wanted to see their team.

Belfast Gooner
Belfast Gooner

So passion is storming turnstiles and taking seats where you don’t have a ticket? I’m as passionate about Arsenal as they come, but that’s just wrong! If British fans behaved like that in Europe we would be reading about drunken louts for months.
Young can go away and support your team without this behaviour. I’m from Northern Ireland and our fans were awarded the freedom of Paris for how they behaved at the Euros last year.

Doug
Doug

What about the huge amounts of cologne fans who had bought legitimate tickets in the home sections?
How was this allowed to happen.
Why were stewards letting fans with cologne shirts/ hats etc through the home turnstiles?
I feel for the stewards inside the ground who had to deal with angry home fans after the first goal.
Completely let down by the club.
The clubs statement says all the right things, but they have failed the fans and the stewards last night.

No1 is Perry Groves
No1 is Perry Groves

It’s in the Terms and Conditions that you’re not allowed to buy tickets in the home end if you’re an away fan. I can understand that 50 stewards would have a hard time throwing out a couple of thousand “boisterous” fans, but frankly if this had been Arsenal fans in Cologne, the game would have been call null, and we’d have been banned from European competition for 10 years. The double standards are what fucks me off the most.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Fair enough, but should that amazing attitude include breaking into the opposition’s stadium to get in, or fighting in and around the stadium?

Martin
Martin

Why so many agreeing with this absurd view of hooliganism

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

It doesn’t count, because everything German is how football should be.

Martin
Martin

Why on earth are so many thumbs down for a perfectly true comment ?

Doug
Doug

People who weren’t at the ground only have the news and the clubs spin to go by.

Clock End 20
Clock End 20

Shocking behaviour? A few tried (and failed) to get into the ground without tickets, they set off a couple of flares, and there were a few minor scuffles with stewards. Most of them had had a few beers and were (shock horror) singing! Hardly back to the 80s ffs.

On the other hand, they came to London in their thousands to support their team, and sang their hearts out all game. Created a great atmosphere at their end. Not really their fault the club sold them 4x the number of tickets they should have, if anyone’s to blame for the crowd control problems it’s Arsenal for managing their ticketing so appallingly badly.

Imagine how class the emirates would be if our fans sang like their lot every week? That sort of passion and commitment has been sold off in the premier league though, and replaced with comfy seats, ‘platinum club’ and fucking dough balls. Personally, I was very happy to see it’s alive and well in the Bundesliga.

Non-flying dutchman
Non-flying dutchman

Im with you mate, except the hating on the dough balls

Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin

Why does no one talk about the amount home tickets available for resale on the internet and street?

Don Cazorleone
Don Cazorleone

Kudos to the police and officials for recognising a potential disaster, and getting shit sorted within an hour or two.

Not saying there aren’t issues with what went down, but credit where it’s due. Could have been much much worse.

SG_gooner
SG_gooner

Where is podolski when we need him most? :/

Non-flying dutchman
Non-flying dutchman

probably leading the charge amongst the away fans ah huh

Pedant
Pedant

Bigger (away) end surely. We all want that.

Pedant
Pedant

We all want a bigger end when playing away?

Still working on it…

Red Fred
Red Fred

No general sale, so no paper tickets. Surely they had to use membership cards to get in. If this is correct cctv can idententy the seats in question.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Yep. It’s the fault of all the touts that sold tickets to them.

The CCTV footage should be used to work out which memberships are associated with those seats and to cancel them.

Gunner712004
Gunner712004

Great idea but the Germans were sitting in my seat, even though I was there, how do you cctv that?

Hobart
Hobart

Stopping ticket touting with our ticket process is extremely simple.
Just have a snitch process where if you have bought from a tout you report the seat number. Once that seat number turns up more than, say, 5 times then those reporting all get a free shirt or ticket to a game. The membership gets investigated then cancelled. It.l be sorted within a couple of seasons. Simple.

Although rumour has always had it that some senior people at the club have links to the touts, that’s why nothing has happened.

GoonerTed
GoonerTed

I’m a season ticket holder and sold my ticket via the ticket exchange. When you buy from there as a registered member (takes two mins to register at no cost and no check of your background or address) you can buy tickets, which you get via a pdf to print in an email.
Work to do around fan registration. I’d guess there’s been an enormous spike in registrations from German IP addresses. Can’t be hard to put a firewall up?

Jake
Jake

Welcome to Europe League where you can swap corporation seats and comfy posh champions league experience to the real old school football passion that is still alive. Arsenal fans should be embarrassed for last night. All I could hear was Köln fans singing and supporting their team. I was wondering was it emirates or Germany ? Good result for the gunners but as far as fans passion and support – the winner is FC Köln

Gooneray
Gooneray

I was at the game and didn’t see any trouble. As the report states only a few scuffles to place. No injuries reported and only 5 arrests but as always the media blow it up out of all proportion.
I have been going to the Arsenal for over 60 years and I am proud to say that over that period of time our fans have probably the best behaved.

Andre
Andre

When I read ‘it’s so shocking, we’re so above that,’ I really wonder if we’ve become a bunch of sterile wankers.

SplendidNige
SplendidNige

Quite clearly a lie from Arsenal about no red memberships purchased after the draw could buy tickets. Many Cologne fans I spoke to did exactly that. Complete madness inside last night. I felt sorry for the kids who probably do t get much of a chance to go to Arsenal, then having to be sat and intimidated by The sheer amount of away fans in home areas. The behaviour of all fans I saw was great, but a bigger away end was necessary and not provided. I was in club level using my companies tickets, and I was outnumbered 20-1. How did these ‘touts’ get so many club level tickets to sell on?

Nick

I can remember going to games before crowds were segregated I never felt intimidated the banter was fun and generally good natured untill the late sixties and seventies when it all turned quite nasty, but you could avoid the nastiness if you were savvy enough and I used to enjoy the volatile yet passionate atmosphere created back then ,most who go to the Emirates now are corporate pussies or those who are probably more at home in Saddlers Wells theatre productions! We really are becoming a nation of sensitive souls where mere words apparently ruin lives and actuall confrontation whether verbal or physical is anathema !!

Glenn
Glenn

Obviously a lie, yes – they’ve figured out what they should have done, and now pretend they have done it.

I eagerly await the stories about the great central midfielder who we signed, and a new manager turning up (Arsene Wenger, but with a fake moustache).

Lazarus
Lazarus

Had that been an English club behaving the way Koln did we would be banned from Europe for that.
But they are German therefore will get away with it..

kaius
kaius

What rubbish. Demonise “ze Germans” all you want but English clubs have a deserved bad reputation for hooliganism.

This morning UEFA charged Koln on four counts including crowd disturbances and throwing fireworks so no, they’re not getting away with anything.

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

I agree totally, however I’ve been on a few really good natured European away trips to major cities where local news has immediately branded Arsenal fans as ‘hooligans’ so I can kinda understand defensive attitude given the general positive spin on social media and the press hours before kick off about 10k Cologne fans sinning and bringing streets in central london to a standstill.

That being said, it’s a good thing we are seeing travelling support for teams being praised, it’s just a shame it got a bit out of hand last night.

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

I thought some of the stewarding during the game was abismal last night. There was clearly a contingent of Cologne fans near the away section in the clock end (a non season ticket area) and yes I understand that would have been difficult to manage, however the pockets of Cologne fans dotted around the north bank goading Arsenal fans was as unbelievable as the fact stewards did nothing to remove those fans or defuse the situation. What happens when an extra 5k Spurs or Chelsea turn up? Or if we draw Milwall at home in the cup?

Also, I noticed a large section of those premium ‘club level’ seats taken up by Cologne fans. Two things to take away from that 1) that section is actually capable of generating noise 2) will the club take the same action against their ‘premium’ fans who pay over £3k a year for a seat as they would with those paying under a grand. I suspect nothing will be done to either, but still.

GunnerWinalot
GunnerWinalot

I’m sure Arsenal took preventative & corrective actions before & on the night but why not offer more tickets to away fans for the UEL group matches? The club knows home demand is lower than UCL so why not sell more to away fans & enhance the atmosphere at the games?

Andy Mack
Andy Mack

Do you think we’ll get more than the minimum regulation number of tickets for the game in Cologne?

Block 93
Block 93

I was at the game too in the West Stand. There were a few Cologne fans nearby. They were quiet (even sheepish). They’d gone to considerable lengths to fit in – one was even wearing an AFC away shirt from a few seasons ago. On the tube home I encountered another group who all had AFC scarves too. I didn’t see trouble (in fact there was quite a lot of chat between the two sets of fans) but guess it might have been more intimidating for AFC fans in sections where the Cologne fans were more concentrated.

Worrying it was allowed to happen though.

AusGunner
AusGunner

It’s interesting that the mere hint of crowd ‘desegregation’ causes panic in those who follow English football. It would be an interesting anthropological exercise to compare and contrast cultures where football crowd ‘segregation’ (accounting for the various codes of football) is practiced and enforced quite strictly (as in England) to those where it isn’t (eg Australia, not sure what it’s like in the US?). As I understand it, in the Bundesliga, crowd mingling is not uncommon except when there are major regional derbies – although fans like to be with their own to express themselves as a voluble collective, as we no doubt appreciate by now. One wonders why this is different from some (presumably not all) western European leagues – could it perhaps be a consequence of Germany becoming a more open and tolerant society throughout the 20th century, a process which perhaps reached its culmination after reunification? I offer this merely as a theory

It’s a bit like the safe-standing issue. Since the 80s the intractable prevailing consensus has been that standing in football grounds will lead to violence and tragedy. It’s only recently that we’re learning (from other countries and perhaps research into stadium logistics) that, no, actually, that doesn’t have to be the case. By the same token, last night has inadvertently perhaps also shown us that, setting aside the issue of Cologne fans getting access to seats they weren’t supposed to, football fans won’t necessarily twat the fuckety out of anyone in close proximity just because they follow a different team. Mind you, I imagine separating supporters and giving seating allocations has some benefits in terms of ticket distribution, making sure enough local supporters can attend etc. That said, the article points out that the tickets weren’t open to general sale. This begs the question: why not? If the demand from locals in London wasn’t sufficient to fill the stadium, as seems to be the case, then why not sell those seats to anyone from Cologne who wants to visit? The apparent lack of actual violence suggests that this wouldn’t necessarily be a major problem. All the newspapers seem to talk about an ‘uneasy’ atmosphere, but this is hopelessly vague and this unease can be derived from how unaccustomed the English football community is to this kind of situation. Anecdotal evidence, however, such as the comments from above seem to suggest that it was actually fine. Food for thought.

NY Gooner
NY Gooner

There are certainly no such restrictions in USA football, OR “American Football”. Away fans are given the option of buying in an away section, but their are no restrictions on buying tickets anywhere they want. Rarely a problem unless an away fan, (or group of them), tries to start an offensive cheer outside of their section; or generally acts like an ass. As long as an away fan behaves appropriately, it’s never a problem. I have witnessed some fun confrontations though. I recall being in the second row at a USA/Mexico match where the idiots in the 1 row in front of me were wearing 4′ sombreros, completely blocking our view. We politely convinced them that it was in the best interest of their health and well-being to remove the hats.

Andy Mack
Andy Mack

Unfortunately football in England became extremely tribal in the 70s. Before then it wasn’t uncommon to go to another local’ish ground to watch a different team when you couldn’t get to an away match.
Having said that, they were mainly standing and much cheaper than today.

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

There were a pockets of Cologne fans in the North Bank who weren’t so sheepish. Was really surprised how little was done stewarding wise in those sections during the game. I have to agree that on my way home there was no trouble, you see far more problems with young West Ham fans attempting to emulate the casuals of the 80s than the mass of Cologne supporters wandering back to central London.

robm
robm

It’s difficult to condemn the Cologne fans for being excited to watch their team.

Alexisshorts
Alexisshorts

This was the first time in 25 years that Cologne have been in Europe. Hardly surprising that a lot of them made the journey to support their team. There was a lot of passion and excitement from their fans as we’ve seen before from German clubs. They should definitely have been allocated more seats. The atmosphere in the ground was amazing and Cologne fans kept up the support even when they were losing. We arrived late and missed the Cologne goal but heard the huge roar when it went in which made us think it was an Arsenal goal. For the most part it felt like we were in an away ground given their noise.

7dxb78
7dxb78

I only saw the game on TV but the incidents seemed minor.

The Koln fans seemed intent on enjoying themselves and making a huge noise. That’s a pretty decent intent. Impressive organization and support by them. I really liked the consistent support of the team despite our 3 goals.

hustlesix
hustlesix

Despite all the hoo haa the atmosphere was rocking at the emirates and in my section invaded by Cologne fans I saw more passion from the gooners than in the last 10 matches I’ve been to combined (not counting the Leicester match).

If this is a taste of Europa football on and off the pitch it’s crazy and I definitely enjoy it.

I just hope these crowd problems don’t make arsenal put up the price for Europa games -these cheap tickets are basically the only way I can justify to myself that we’re not getting completely mugged off by the club.

Lee
Lee

Think the biggest worry was the proximity to the junior gunners section. Can imagine a more accessible fixture (price-wise for families) like last night would have seen a lot of kids taking in their first game.

And while it was an “experience” and there was atmosphere even I wouldn’t have fancied being surrounded by the away fans.

Lee
Lee

Should also say that the queuing outside the ground in large numbers like that with little explanation other than what could be read online was a slight cause for concern, with all that’s gone on recently.

No1 is Perry Groves
No1 is Perry Groves

I’ve long said that the Junior Gunners section should be a lot further away from the away fans section. Some of the behaviour of the away fans *cough* Spurs *cough* can be disgusting.

Whowearshortshorts
Whowearshortshorts

AFC Vs Barcelona CL final in Paris: around 20000 AFC fans went to Paris with only a fraction with tickets.we partied with the somewhat surprised Barca fans and Parisians (for once actually friendly). No trouble. Considering what happened last night, I am proud that people kept cool heads. As a lifelong AFC supporter I’m used to Liverpool fans turning up in our ends whenever they play us. Amazing overall composure shown last night considering the level of unpreparedness.

VIVB
VIVB

Generally I don’t have a problem sitting with away fans if they behave I have done it myself, but the ones singing and celebrating their goal in the north bank were just stupid and could have created a real problem as some home supporters with an extra hour of drinking saw it as a provocation. The stewards did very little one group was removed but then given seats elsewhere. In general Arsenal fans should be lauded for their restraint and hospitality. It did create a great atmosphere for a game that we might not have bothered with.

Gooner223
Gooner223

I guess the German’s didn’t observe the ‘Quiet – Emirates Library’ sign.

Hubie

I think this thread by @archiert1 on twitter sums things up pretty well…

https://twitter.com/archiert1/status/908479402505379840