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Cologne sorry for trouble at the Emirates.

Byline: SUPERMAC Shooting from the lip

COLOGNE have apologised for the crowd disturbances which overshadowed Thursday night's Europa League match at Arsenal.

The Bundesliga club, though, also hit back at their limited ticket allocation and criticised "organisers" for being "not adequately prepared," while insisting the police presence was "too small".

Cologne also claimed Arsenal tickets had been passed on "for horrendous prices."

The Group H opener, which Arsenal won 3-1, was delayed by an hour as many away supporters without tickets looked to gain entry to the Emirates Stadium.

It is estimated around 20,000 Cologne fans made the journey to London, despite only 3,000 tickets being on sale. Thousands of away supporters could be seen sat in the home stands.

Following the disturbances both inside and outside the ground, governing body UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against both clubs.

Cologne face charges involving crowd disturbances, setting off fireworks, throwing of objects and acts of damage by their fans, while Arsenal are under investigation for having "stairways blocked" in the away section.

Arsenal insist the safety of fans was the main concern at the time and promised a "full review."

Cologne's statement read: "FC Koln is proud tens of thousands of 'Colognians' wanted to experience the first European match in 25 years and travelled to London.

"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.

"Due to the enormous demand for tickets, it would have been sensible, not least for security reasons, to allow more than the allocated 5% of stadium capacity to the guest fans.

"It was apparent thousands of people from Cologne would seek to avoid the restrictions and get tickets in every way possible.

"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."

However, the Bundesliga side said there could be "no excuse or justification" for the actions of "so-called disturbers" with stewards and police being attacked.

The statement added: "We ask our English hosts to accept our apology for this."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Sep 16, 2017
Words:389
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