20,000 1. FC Köln fans descended on London on Thursday as they returned to European football for the first time in 25 years. What followed, was noisy Germans supporting their team in vast numbers, with the majority snapping up tickets in Arsenal’s end.
Although relatively good, as with any club, there was a small minority that looked to cause trouble. As such, the kick-off was delayed by one hour.
Since the events took place on Thursday evening, both clubs have released a statement. Here are the key points taken from Köln’s official statement.
“The overwhelming majority of our fans have represented the club, the city of Cologne, and German football happily and positively. The London locals and the police shared these feelings on social media leading up to the match.”
On being given just a 5% ticket allocation: “It would have been sensible, not least for security reasons, to allow more than the allocated 5% of stadium capacity to the guest fans.”
On pre-match preparation: “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.
“1. FC Köln will intensively evaluate and work together with Arsenal FC, the security forces, and the representatives of UEFA to discuss what measures need to be taken to prevent such things, such as the shifted kick off time, in the future.”
On the very small minority of Köln fans: “That said, 1. FC Köln would like to unmistakably make it clear that there is no excuse or justification for the fact that a group of so-called disturbers threatened, insulted, and even attacked stewards and police officers without cause. We distance ourselves from this explicitly.
“Although 1. FC Köln is not responsible for the acts of these so-called disturbers, we ask our English hosts to accept our apology.”