Crowd Trouble Delays The Start Of Arsenal v Koln In The Europa League
Crowd trouble has marred Arsenal's debut in the Europa League with kick-off delays in the 'interests of crowd safety'.
The North London side were due to be facing FC Koln of Germany at the Emirates Stadium but trouble, seemingly due to additional away supporters trying to get into the crowd, has pushed the start back by an hour.
It is estimated that 20,000 Koln fans descended on the British capital for tonight's game with reports that some had bought Arsenal home shirts and memberships in an effort to see the match with home supporters.
The BBC Radio 5 Live reporter, John Southall, told the station: "The Koln fans are all over the Emirates, they're meant to have the three thousand seats behind one goal but it's become very apparent that they're pretty much in the whole lower tier at that end.
"There is a riot police segregation in the middle of that tier but it's Koln fans either side of it."
BT Sport's Reshmin Chowdhury added: "We have been hearing Koln fans bought tickets from home fans and were trying to jump over the barriers and get into the away stand. Riot police turned up to control the situation.
"We spoke to a family whose girl was supposed to be a ball girl at the match but they are not coming now because of seeing the situation outside the ground."
Arsenal fans were left 'ashamed' at their club for allowing this to happen.
Mark Pougatch, presenting the BBC's coverage tonight, stated: "Surely the huge Koln fans march through London would've alerted the authorities as to how many would try and get into the Emirates?"
The game kicked off over an hour late, with their two other group opponents Red Star Belgrade of Serbia and BATE Borisov of Belarus kicking off, as scheduled at 20:05 BST.
Some fans had previously called for the game to be postponed with the possibility of the game played behind closed doors 24 hours later.
It is likely that the clubs involved will face sanctions from UEFA - Europe's governing footballing body.
Featured Image Credit: PA