Cologne blame Arsenal and the police for poor preparation
Cologne have accused Arsenal and the Metropolitan police of being ill-prepared to manage crowds before the Europa League tie at the Emirates Stadium which was blighted by pre-match chaos.
The German club apologised to Arsenal for what they called inexcusable behaviour from a small number of their fans. But they also claimed a lack of forward planning contributed to scenes before the match which saw away supporters involved in skirmishes with stewards.
Thousands of Cologne fans were able to buy tickets from Arsenal members and ticketing websites, fuelling the scenes that caused the kick-off to be delayed an hour.
In a statement, Cologne said: “Despite the tremendous experience of both the London security forces and Arsenal as a permanent partaker in European football, the organisers were unfortunately not adequately prepared for the task. In our view, the security concept and communication seemed inadequate and the police force too small.”
Cologne have been issued with four Uefa disciplinary charges relating to crowd disturbances, setting off flares, throwing of objects and acts of damage.
Arsenal have been charged with having a blocked stairway in the away section, with all the cases to be heard next week by the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body. Five arrests were made.
Arsenal pledged to carry out a full investigation. The club said it had taken a number of measures before the match “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”.
“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,” the club added.
“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.”
Resale of football tickets is illegal in the UK, but Cologne fans said they were able to secure seats in the home end via Craigslist, independent ticket touts and websites such as Viagogo and Ticketbis, owned by StubHub. The ticketing expert Reg Walkersaid the chaotic scenes at the Emirates were the “direct result of touts reselling tickets”.
Cologne fans set off a flares in the stands during the game against Arsenal