Arsenal face Â£7000 fine after Uefa charge following Cologne fan fiasco
Uefa and Arsenal this morning opened separate investigations into the circumstances which led to the Gunnersâ 3-1 win over Cologne last night being overshadowed by crowd trouble.
Kick-off was delayed for an hour as approximately 20,000 away fans descended on Emirates Stadium, despite the German club only receiving an official allocation of 3,000 tickets.
That led to some fans attempting to force their way into the ground and closure of the turnstiles. Once re-opened, thousands of travelling supporters found their way into home sections of the stadium, breaching rules regarding segregation.
After receiving their delega teâs report, Uefa announced that Arsenal face one charge under Article 38 of their Safety and Security Regulations relating to stairways blocked in the away sections. Uefa guidelines suggest a maximum fine of around 8,000 euros if upheld.
Cologne have been charged with four offences â" crowd disturbances, setting off fireworks, throwing of objects and acts of damage. Two flares were set off inside the ground during the first half, a breach which results a fine of 1,000 euros, and Cologneâs overall punishment will almost certainly increase significantly once the other offences are taken into account.
The case will be dealt with by the Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on 21 September.
Arsenal released a statement this morning which read: âFollowing last nig htâs Uefa Europa League match with Cologne, we would like to stress that fan safety was always our paramount concern and informed all decisions made.
âWe 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.
âThis included a number of measures such as ensuring no tickets were sold via general sale and that no red memberships (an Arsenal ticketing scheme) 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.< p>âThe tickets issued to Cologne fans were 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 and something we continue to work hard to address. 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.â
Around 20,000 Cologne fans descended on London yesterday with more than half that figure marshalled to the stadium by police.
Standard Sport understands discussions were held in the build-up to the game exploring the possibility of a ring of steel around Emirates Stadium but it was not considered a viable option given train tracks which run close to the ground and multiple access points would mean stewards a nd police deployed on the streets around Islington.
Uefaâs guidelines suggest an away allocation should be determined as a percentage of the home stadium capacity, usually a maximum of around five per cent.
Emirates Stadium holds approximately 60,000 supporters and Arsenal are believed to have considered making more tickets available to Cologne fans given the unprecedented demand to attend their first European match in 25 years.
However, even if Arsenal had gone to 9,000 â" as has been the case for certain FA Cup ties in the past â" supply would not have outstripped demand and it is understood the possibility of such a large allocation may have tempted even more Cologne supporters to make the trip from Germany.
Both Arsenal and the police will seek to avoid a repeat o f so many fans being allowed in close proximity to the stadium without tickets, although the set of circumstances is regarded a unique given the history involved.
Some Arsenal supporters sold their tickets to travelling fans but it is understood a bigger concern was the number bought illegally from ticket touts.
Once thousands of fans were inside the ground, it quickly became clear attempts at segregation had failed yet police considered the âbest and safestâ option was to allow the fixture to go ahead. This was largely due to the belief it would be easier to manage the situation within the confines of a stadium rather than have thousands of disgruntled fans spilling out onto the streets.
However, Standard Sport spoke to several stewards and stadium security staff who were all surprised the game had been allowed to go ahead. Although segregation is much more relaxed in Germany, the sight of thousands of away fans in the home end is a rarity both in Uefa competition and in English football. It is therefore something of a relief that only five arrests were made.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted he was among those who thought the game would be postponed. âWe waited patiently in our dressing room but what was difficult was for me was I had all kind of plans to think about at some stage,â he said.
âI had to think if we play tomorrow at what time do we want to play? Do we play next week? It was all kind of speculation, you know, that we had to analyse and see how we can deal with the situation.
âAt some stage I thought they would not play the game, because I canâ t see the police taking any risk. We live in a society of 100 per cent security and I thought they would never take a gamble to play this game when I saw the images around the stadium. But our fans dealt well with the situation.â
Arsenalâs summer signing Sead Kolasinac appears to have escaped an individual misconduct charge of provoking supporters despite celebrating his first-half equaliser by revealing a shirt with a slogan which, translated into English, read: North Curve in your city.
The North Curve are the hardcore fans of Bundesliga rivals Schalke â"Kolasinacâs former club. He could have faced a possible one-match ban.Don't miss any of the action with our daily football email Source: Google News