Bundesliga flares condemned
Flares lit by Hamburg and Schalke fans at the weekend counteracted German fans' attempts to silence the ongoing security discussions in German football.
A Hamburg Ultra group lit flares ahead of Hamburg's game in Dusseldorf on Friday while they set fire to their own banner. 'Let us play our game' the banner in front of the Hamburg fan area read, with another sign above the away section reading 'Reject the DFL paper!'
The DFL paper on Safe Stadium experience, which could restrict fan rights and also prohibit pyrotechnics inside the Bundesliga stadium, has caused uproar among fan groups and also divided Bundesliga clubs.
While sections of the proposals have been heavily debated, it is deemed common sense by the majority of Bundesliga clubs that pyrotechnics should be banned from the stadiums.
DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said in a statement: "In this direction we will enforce a zero-tolerance policy."
The ongoing discussion on pyrotechnics were reignited at the weekend. Hamburg fans lit flares ahead of the Dusseldorf match and shouted 'Pyrotechnic ain't no crime!' amid the red clouds that flooded the Dusseldorf arena.
And when a banner by Hamburg Ultra group Chosen Few caught fire, the other fans replied with 'You are too daft!' and 'Beginners! Beginners!' chants. The kick-off of the game was delayed by several minutes as firemen extinguished the flames.
On Sunday, the Ultra group released a statement in which they called their actions 'totally failed'. "A severe accident, with the degree leaving us shocked. It has shown us that pyro does not work THIS way," read the statement.
Meanwhile, in another incident Schalke Ultra group Hugos lit flares ahead of the second half between Schalke and Frankfurt. Some 150 Hugos members had been handed a stadium ban after the Revierderby against Dortmund five weeks ago. With the stadium ban only coming to effect after the match, it was Hugos' way of saying goodbye to the Schalke Arena.
Before the pyro-show after half time the Ultra groups had unveiled banners reading 'We will never be that way, you will never get us down'. But when the flares were lit the stadium replied with 'We are Schalke and you not' and 'You are s**t like BVB' chants.
After the game a Gelsenkirchen police spokesman confirmed that some 60 offenders had been identified. "We videoed the action and identified the offenders. We got hold of them after the match," he said.
Schalke general manager Horst Heldt said: "We have to absolutely condemn this." But added on the fan chants: "Our fans gave the right answer."