UEFA charges Arsenal, Cologne after fan chaos

London: European football chiefs charged Arsenal and Cologne on Friday after vast numbers of away fans gained access to the home sections of Emirates Stadium, sparking chaotic scenes that marred the Europa League clash.
Visiting fans were issued with 3,000 tickets but around 20,000 fans of the German club are believed to have made the journey to the British capital.
The start of the match was delayed by an hour as ticketless Cologne fans tried to gain entry to the ground in north London and there were clearly thousands of away supporters sitting among Arsenal fans, causing a security risk.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he had been preparing for a postponement, describing the decision to play Thursday’s Group H tie as a “gamble”.
Both clubs now face disciplinary proceedings from governing body UEFA.
Cologne fans are accused of crowd disturbances, setting off fireworks, throwing objects and causing acts of damage, while Arsenal face a probe for “stairways blocked in away supporters sector”.
UEFA said it would deal with the cases on September 21.
Five arrests were made during the evening. Arsenal issued a statement insisting the safety of supporters was the main concern at the time as the club launched a “full review” of the events.
Earlier, YouTube footage showed thousands of Cologne fans surging through the streets of London, chanting in unison and setting off flares.
“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,” Arsenal’s statement said.
— AFP