Arsenal issue warning to Cologne fans as they face 20,000-strong invasion for Europa League tie at the Emirates

Arsenal issue warning to Cologne fans as they face 20,000-strong invasion for Europa League tie at the Emirates Arsenal issue warning to Cologne fans as they face 20,000-strong invasion for Europa League tie at the Emirates

Arsenal are braced for a mass invasion by thousands of fanatical Cologne supporters. The German club have an allocation of 3,000 tickets for the Europa League opener at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

But there have been reports that as many as 20,000 are preparing to travel to London to savour the atmosphere of their first European campaign for 25 years. Flights and trains were booked within hours of the draw and many of those who missed out in the club ballot have been attempting to secure tickets on the black market. Cologne, with close to 100,000 members, are famed for their passionate support.

They have been though hard times, with relegation from the Bundesliga in 2012, but they are excited to be back where they feel they belong, finishing fifth last season, although the new campaign has started poorly. Arsenal, aware of the interest in this fixture among away fans, have tried to close down opportunities for Germans to acquire tickets in the home end.

They issued warnings about travelling without tickets and the risk of buying from touts and have refused to make tickets available to anyone joining the club's membership scheme since last month's draw in order to access the ticket sales and exchange schemes.

A message on the Arsenal website said: 'Please note visiting supporters that purchase a ticket in the home end for this fixture are likely to be ejected from the stadium.
'We have made this decision following consultation with the police and to ensure we are in line with crowd segregation requirements.'

The game is officially sold-out but regular visitors to the Emirates know this does not mean all seats will be taken. After two decades in the Champions League the prospect of group games in the Europa League is unlikely to fire the imagination of those who often choose to stay away. Borussia Dortmund are also in London to face Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday.


Source: www.dailymail.co.uk