All credit squandered

Pyrotechnics. Leuchtspuren. Firecrackers. A part of the fan scene has clearly overstepped the mark – here is a commentary on this.

Photo: Dirk Unschuld

FC president Werner Spinner had leaned out of the window far, very far. "The DFB's maxim is to punish. And if something happens again: higher penalties," Spinner told the "Suddeutsche Zeitung": "That means the spiral goes on and on. That is not a solution to the problem."

A few hours later, the effzeh boss learned that this (albeit justified) statement might not have been too clever in the run-up to the explosive derby with Borussia Monchengladbach. Pyrotechnics were set off, tracers were shot onto the field from the visitors' block, and firecrackers rang out frequently in Borussia Park. To crown the performance, the effzeh fans then started after the final whistle: Several supporters stormed the pitch – what they wanted there, they probably didn't know themselves either.

The effzeh, just anyway because of renewed misconduct of its own supporters at the cup game in Duisburg in delicate negotiations with the DFB about a hefty penalty, officially condemned the acts directly after the game. "These incidents add to the 1. FC Koln and the majority of the great fans of the 1. FC Cologne massive damage," the statement says. "Especially in a phase in which we are in an exchange with the DFB about appropriate punishments and the correct evaluation of fan work, these incidents are a serious setback that disappoints and angers the club."

The club will try to identify the perpetrators and also reserves the right to take action against the relevant groups. "Whoever claims to be a fan of the 1. FC Koln and behaves in such a way has not understood the basic rules of soccer and is undesirable," explains the effzeh clearly. In this clarity, also with the blatant announcement to the Ultra groups, the club has not expressed itself for a long time.

One thing is clear: the strong words must be followed by action after the performance in Monchengladbach. The presidium's strategy of focusing on dialogue and involvement doesn't seem to be working with a certain section of the fan scene. Not only internally, but also externally, the club will (have to) set signs. It will not be enough to rap the knuckles of the groups or to take away their privileges, not even those responsible for the effzeh.

The constantly repeated fairy tale of the lone perpetrator no longer applies, at the latest since Carnival Saturday. At least the pyro use was a concerted action that went completely wrong. Always in the discussion about burning Bengalos was claimed: We have this under control. Nothing should leave the block. We do not set off firecrackers. Licked on the ass – nothing was under control. And this must have consequences.

Who as an active fan scene, dedicated to the weal and woe of the 1. FC Koln, which harms the club in the long run, has no place in the stadium. Those who simply do their own thing at the expense of other fans and torpedo many fan concerns in the process need not be surprised by the reactions. With actions like Saturday's, you're not just shooting yourself in the knee in the face of the looming debate over "salami play days," you're blowing off your entire lower body right now.

As long as this does not go into the heads and concrete-headed rebellion is preferred, there will be only one solution on the part of the association. And the obvious one is.

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