Many of you might have seen the Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund derby this weekend and you may have wondered about what you saw in the stands.
In recent years the Bundesliga has been idealised to being a role model regarding price, match day experience and fan friendly behaviour. That might all be true although I think the Premier League experience is hard to compare to Bundesliga match day experience. But as it seems we have a new (old) problem away from the pitch, even in the perfect Bundesliga.
In the past it was the hooligans, but now we have a new kind of troublemaker; so-called fans who get into the stadiums using fireworks and smoke bombs to disrupt the match. The sad thing about it is not only the fact that they are difficult to catch as they are masked but it’s also very difficult to prevent the fireworks being smuggled into the stadiums. The material is so small these days (only the size of a lipstick) that the staff need to control everybody intensively. With a stadium capacity of 40,000 on average, it is a task that is nearly impossible.
You might say that there will always be troublemakers in the stands and you might be right on that. But the BVB fans have been known for their correct behaviour. So if the fan scene itself can’t prevent these things to happen from inside it get’s harder for authorities to stop it.
And even last Tuesday when the press was so excited about BVB’s away support against Arsenal in the Champions League, pictures of a damaged seating area in the away stand at the Emirates Stadium emerged. A coincidence? I don’t think so. There has been a tendency in recent month to use football as a platform for violence. Prior to this Saturday’s BVB vs. Schalke match, BVB fans forced a train to stop in Essen central station. Prior to the Arsenal vs. Napoli match, the Italian “fans” damaged Piebury Corner (the pies are excellent by the way).
What’s up with these guys? When you see fireworks being used in Turkish stadiums or in Greece you always think it has to be that way. It doesn’t. It’s what leads to idiots all over the world copying it which doesn’t mean that the problem is necessarily caused by one country or club.
The main problem is the fact how FIFA or UEFA deal with the problem. An empty stadium, a fee to pay – is that really enough? Just last week Yaya Toure was racially abused in Russia during Manchester City’s match at CSKA Moscow. And it’s not the first time that we have heard about these sorts of things. What’s going to happen? If you ask me: nothing. UEFA and FIFA are great in advertising their No to Racism campaign. But when it comes to act, a handshake can solve anything….or nothing.
I’m not sure what’s the best way to prevent such thing happening but I think the solution has to come from the fans themselves as it always does. UEFA and FIFA won’t solve the problem as it won’t bring them profit. The fans need to stand up and confront these idiots bringing bad reputation to the lovely game. It’s a lot to ask for and sometimes it’s hard to act that way. But a group of real fans can make the difference.
So it’s not all good in the Bundesliga. Let’s hope we don’t have to cope with fireworks and smoke bombs in the Premier League any time soon.