By Walter Broeckx
I thought the flares issue had been extinguished on the night but now I see a rather strange thing happening.
I base this article on what I read in the Belgian newspapers so if they have spread wrong information I can only apologise. But for now I still trust them more than I trust some of the English media. But what they tell me is very worrying and strange.
Everyone who was looking at the match live will have seen the despicable images of Galatasaray supporters lighting flares in the stand and throwing them on the pitch. I was there when Everton supporters did this last year and I sat above them. And I don’t like to inhale smoke in to my lungs at any time. I admit when I was young I have smoked cigarettes myself but once I got to the years of wisdom (around 21 that was) I decided to quit smoking and never touched another cigarette again.
So if I go to a football match I certainly don’t want to inhale smoke of flares. I wonder how people who have serious breathing problems would react to such things. So just for health reasons I find it unacceptable to light up flares in a stadium.
But as you might know by now Galatasaray wasn’t the only club who misbehaved like that this week. To my big amazement the usually excellent Borussia Dortmund supporters did the same when they played their match at Anderlecht. You can see a picture of this if you click on this link
According to the newspapers they use woman and children to smuggle the flares in to the stadium as they cannot be searched completely and in Belgium no police officer really wants to do a body search of a child. A post-Dutroux trauma we suffer collectively. The people who work at the Football cell of the Internal Affairs (a committee erected post Heysel disaster) said that it is almost impossible to find the flares. The only real option would be a nude search of every supporter but well… nobody really wants to go that far.
Now Uefa has opened a disciplinary investigation about the flares both in the match Arsenal – Galatasary and Anderlecht – Dortmund.
Both matches had to be stopped for a while. Because of the smoke entering the field and also because in both matches flares where thrown on the pitch. So you could say the same thing happened in both stadiums.
And now comes the real strange thing.
For the match Anderlecht – Dortmund it is Dortmund that is risking a sanction. Because Uefa clearly seems to have identified it was them who did the wrong thing. There is no talk of punishing Anderlecht.
But for the match Arsenal – Galatasaray it is Arsenal that is being accused of lacking organisation and as a result allowing the events to happen as they did.
So we have two similar cases. Almost completely identical. But it is only Arsenal that is being accused of lacking organisation and Anderlecht who faced the same thing seems to walk off free.
If this really would be the verdict of Uefa about those incidents it seems that they use different sticks to beat the clubs with. And of course Arsenal seems to be once again the one that gets the harder beating up from Uefa.
Now I don’t even dispute the fact that one could accuse Arsenal of lacking organisation. Because after all it is Arsenal that should have made sure that no flares were smuggled in to the ground. But then why doesn’t this also apply for Anderlecht?
This is as if a tackle of a foul that should get a red card is only being punished for one team and not for the other. Oh wait a minute. That did happen on the night also.
Fact is that about the flares thing we can only accept that both the home and away clubs are punished and prosecuted in the same way.
If UEFA wants to say that it is the home club completely responsible for this then they should punish Arsenal AND Anderlecht in the same way.
If UEFA wants to say that it is the responsibility of the away club to make sure their supporters behave than they should punish both Dortmund AND Galatasaray in the same way.
In my opinion the only way to bring this to a fair end is to charge both Arsenal and Anderlecht for their lack of organisation and fine them. No problem at all.
But they should make sure that most of all the club whose supporters have lighted the flares are punished most. They have created the problem with bringing in the flares. So they should get the biggest punishment. And then the home clubs for not doing enough about it.
And that something need to be done is clear for me.
The verdict will be on October 16. So we will know before Dortmund come to the Emirates. I suggest that in the event that we as home club only get punished and not Anderlecht that the people responsible for the security take drastic measures. I wonder what will happen if the police declares that no visiting supporters are allowed in for safety measures. What would Uefa do about it?
After all that would be making sure that you have it all organised. Isn’t that what they accuse us of? Lacking that organisation.
Or maybe if we could find the idiots that lighted the flares and bring them to court and give them life long bans from entering football grounds that might help a bit also? After all it is them that do it and it is them that we should target most of all.
- How the media always knocks Arsenal, but ignores England’s failures.
- Left has never been stronger at Arsenal FC!
- The seven main things that are wrong with football in England
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 2 comments from the manager and team news
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 1 the head to head record and comments on Spurs summer signings