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The Daily Bee (September 15th, 2017): Köln fan-situation explained

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Arsenal FC v 1. FC Koeln - UEFA Europa League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
  • Europa League

This was not the best week for Bundesliga teams in Europe, after the disappointing Champions League results the games in the Europa League were arguably even worse. Hoffenheim lost at home to Braga, Köln lost in London against Arsenal and Hertha Berlin had the best result with a goal-less draw at home to Bilbao.

The biggest story was actually nothing that happened on a football pitch but the “turmoil” outside of the Emirates stadium in London. To recap what happened, Arsenal fans were apparently not interested in watching the Europa League, they are a Champions League-regular after all. This is of course the complete opposite for Köln fans, their club is participating in Europe for the first time in 25 years. An incredible 20.000 (!) people traveled with Köln to London to see their club play.

However things didn’t go very smoothly, some fans were denied entry into the stadium which lead to commotion in front of the stadium. In a move that surprises nobody at all, the English media immediately made this story bigger than it was, speaking of “riots”, Köln fans being out of control and on a rampage, even going so far to call the German fans “Nazis”. In reality it seems like there was just a huge misunderstanding that lead to a minority of fans acting out.

Here’s what happened: 1.FC Köln only got only 3.000 tickets for their fans for the game, however there were still a lot more tickets on the market because Arsenal fans were not interested in attending the game. Köln supporters then bought those “neutral” tickets and thought there was no problem with that. However in England away-fans are not allowed anywhere in the stadium except for the section that is specifically allotted to them. That is completely different in Germany. Usually Bundesliga stadiums have three sections, one for home-fans, one for away-fans and one that is “neutral”, meaning that opposing fans sit next to each other which is the case at every single Bundesliga game.

Not aware of that difference, Köln supporters were dumbfounded when they were denied entry into the stadium even when they had a ticket. Sadly this lead to some people acting out, picking fights with stewards and the police. While that is of course completely unacceptable behavior, it should be noted that this was a minority of “fans” acting out.

For more information on what actually happened you can follow this twitter thread:

Daily Buzz: Did you watch any Europa League games? Which result stands out?