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Aug 14, 2013

Bayern's supporters rift continues

The row between FC Bayern Munich and its fans continues after the Sudkurve, the former heart of the Allianz Arena, appeared silent during the season opener against Borussia Monchengladbach last Friday.

Munich's Allianz Arena hosted the 2012 Champions League final
Allianz Arena is lacking its usual colour and atmosphere as the row between club and fans rumbles on.

"New folks, new songs," German broadsheet Suddeutsche Zeitung headlined on Tuesday, the online outlet of Eurosport added "FC Bayern: Death comes slowy" and Munich’s Abendzeitung said: "FC Bayern and the Sudkurve. Row with fans. Sorrow, frustration and resignation."

The dispute between some supporters’ organisations first surfaced some six years ago. Then, some fans bemoaned a lack of atmosphere at the then fairly new Allianz Arena. Uli Hoeness, the general manager at that time, hit back and told the fans: "You and you alone, are responsible for the bad atmosphere," he said in 2007.

The conflict continued to smoulder. And caught fire once again when two things happened ahead of the new season.

Firstly, Bayern Munich officials abolished away season tickets for European and German cup games following UEFA fines for the use of flares during the Champions League season 2012-13.

Those rare tickets are a common way to reward the Allesfahrer (meaning: fans who travel to every match) and spare them the trouble of sorting out their tickets. In return the Allesfahrer usually guarantees support away from home.

Secondly, a new system of entry to the two main home standing areas was introduced. Only fans with specific tickets to the two areas in the Sudkurve are now able to enter them.

Both the main supporters’ organisation, Club Nr.12, and the club had briefed media about the situation the week prior to the Monchengladbach game.

Ahead of the season opener, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had said "There will be a call for a boycott." And after the Allianz Arena had mostly been quiet last Friday, Rummenigge told reporters: "I don't know which decisions could have led to people not coming or being quiet. You have to ask the fans, at least those who were quiet. I don't know the reason."

At time the Arena had been filled with anti-Uli Hoeness chants by Borussia Monchengladbach hinting at the Bayern president’s tax problems.

"There has been no call for a boycott," Gregor Weinreich of Club Nr.12 told Suddeutsche. "We are not under the impression that FC Bayern wants to continue the path with those responsible for the atmosphere over the past few years." The active Bayern fans bemoan a "deliberate destruction of the active fan scene."

Bayern Munich replied they were in a constant dialogue with fans. "If 200 to 300 people are of the opinion they have to remain silent, you can’t change that," Rummenigge said.

Wolfgang Salewski, a former anti-terror specialist, who was hired by the club as a mediator, explained he had expected the lack of atmosphere. "Other persons willing to support need to find each other in the Sudkurve now. It’ll be okay. But this will go on for a few games now," he commented.  "The block needs time to re-organise: New folks, new songs," he added.

"The question is: Are the fans who travel to every away game no matter where and believe their job is to support their team to be treated differently than those spectators, who attend two home games a season, but define themselves as Bayern fans, buy jersey and click 'like' on Facebook," Suddeutsche asked. They swiftly concluded: "FC Bayern has answered this question, regarding the allocation of tickets, with no."

 

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