Bundesliga team FC Cologne condemned the behaviour of some of their fans ahead of and during the UEFA Europa League match against Arsenal on Thursday, but also called out the lack of tickets for traveling fans, second-market ticket prices and inadequate organisation on the part of the Gunners.
The team released a lengthy statement via their official website in which they addressed all these points, and reserved a section for some of their unruly fans:
"That said, 1. FC Koln 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."
The club emphasised they were not responsible for the behaviour of the "so-called disturbers" but offered their apologies to Arsenal, nonetheless:
"These people are solely responsible for the fact that a football match with a special meaning for an entire region, as well as the courageous effort of our team on the pitch, had to be overshadowed by scenes that had nothing to do with sport and fair play. Although 1. FC Koln is not responsible for the acts of these so-called disturbers, we ask our English hosts to accept our apology."
Kick-off for the match was delayed by one hour after more than 10,000 German fans showed up to the Emirates Stadium. Per Joe Mewis and Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror,Cologne were only allocated 3,000 tickets.
Fans succeeded in entering the home sections of the stadium, leading to an odd atmosphere inside the ground, as well as a few minor incidents involving stewards. Per Sam Wallace of the Telegraph, the Cologne fans weren't exactly hiding:
Sam Wallace @SamWallaceTel
Cologne score & German fans celebrating throughout the home areas in front of press box. Arsenal fans now demanding the stewards remove them2017-9-14 20:16:03
Arsenal won the match 3-1, but the back pages mostly focused on the fan unrest after the contest. Sports writer Archie Rhind-Tutt implored fans not to get caught up in the narrative, however:
Archie Rhind-Tutt @archiert1
The best description of what went on, from what I saw and the people I've spoken to, is this from @barneyronay. https://t.co/UrNoKrg09f2017-9-14 23:59:42
The Gunners will face Cologne again on November 23.