European football’s governing body Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings after crowd issues marred the Europa League clash between Arsenal and Cologne at the Emirates Stadium.
Last night’s group H encounter kicked off an hour late after more than 20,000 Cologne fans were reported to have been inside the ground despite only having an allocation of 2,900 tickets.
The Guardian reports that both clubs will face charges by Uefa. Arsenal face a charge for “stairways blocked in away supporters’ sector” while the German side face four charges – for crowd disturbance, setting off fireworks, the throwing of objects and acts of damage by fans.
The Gunners, who won the match 3-1, issued a statement today after the chaos. “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,” said the club.
“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.
The statement also said that Arsenal had worked hard with “colleagues in Cologne” to stop supporters travelling without match tickets. “The 3,000 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,” said the club.
Arsenal also said it was “very disappointing” that many tickets had been sold through touts. The club has launched a “full review” into the circumstances surrounding the game so that “any lessons that can be learned” are used in the future.
After the game, a police statement published on Sky Sports said: “No reports of any significant incidents. Five people have been arrested on suspicion of public order offences.”