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Cologne fans at Arsenal..

The obscure reason why Arsenal are facing a UEFA charge over Cologne fans

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Arsenal's return to European football - albeit in the Europa League - was certainly eventful.

The Gunners' clash with Cologne was delayed after over 20,000 visiting supporters descended on London, despite less than 3,000 tickets being available in the away end. It's fair to say the Germans made themselves known in the capital and certainly drummed up an atmosphere.

However, by the time supporters had arrived at the Emirates, both police officers and stewards faced a struggle to contain the crowds. 

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Despite heavy police resistance, a greater number of Cologne supporters attempted to storm the ground and some even managed to smuggle themselves into Arsenal sections. As many as 4,500 travelling fans could have been in attendance, according to Goal.com.

Their effort managed to hold back kick-off by an hour but there was no delay to Cologne attempts to drum up an atmosphere. 

The south-east corner of the ground was a cauldron of Cologne paraphernalia and ablaze with flares and fireworks. Quite the sight but not if you work at UEFA.

And while the game did go ahead, with Arsenal eventually emerging 3-1 victors, the competition's governing body wasted no time in plotting their responsive action. Barely 10 hours after kick-off and UEFA have already settled on their charges. 

A statement on their official website explained: "Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA Europa League group stage match between Arsenal FC and 1. FC Köln (3-1), played on 14 September in England."

Arsenal FC v 1. FC Koeln - UEFA Europa League

Cologne face no less than four charges for their partisan away support, proving: crowd disturbances, setting of fireworks, throwing of objects and acts of damage. You'd be hard pressed to argue with UEFA's decision there.

Fans might be surprised to hear, though, that Arsenal will also face charges as regards the fans of another team.

Under Article 38 of UEFA's Health & Safety regulations, the north London club are being charged for the blocking of staircases in the away supporters' section. 

In Arsenal failing to keep the stairwells clear, it is believed that the chaos in the stand was exacerbated and the safety of supporters potentially threatened. It's unknown, currently, as to whether the charge is harsh on a team of stewards that was already overwhelmed.

Arsenal will have to wait until September 21 to discover whether the charges will be carried.

Regardless of whether they are, though, it won't take away from their impressive start to a Europa League campaign few ever thought they'd embark upon.

Arsenal FC v 1. FC Koeln - UEFA Europa League

Copy Jose Mourinho's plan of last season and that all-too painful fifth place finish will mean very little.

Do you think Arsenal can go all the way in the Europa League this season? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Topics:
Europa League
Arsene Wenger
Football
Alexis Sanchez
Germany Football

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