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UEFA charge Arsenal with Insufficient Organisation

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Paul Gilham

UEFA have charged Arsenal with "Insufficient Organisation" after yesterday's match wherein a handful of traveling Galatasaray supporters threw missiles and lit flares onto the pitch at the Emirates Stadium:

Match: UEFA Champions League Group D match between Arsenal FC and Galatasaray A.Ş. (4-1) played on Wednesday 1 October in England.
Galatasaray AŞ: Crowd disturbances (art. 16 (2) (f) DR; setting-off and throwing of fireworks (art. 16 (2) (b) & (c) DR) Arsenal FC: Insufficient organisation (art. 16 (1) DR)

The charge stems from the article that directs clubs with making sure that supporters cannot bring illicit materiel into a stadium on match days. As arseblog notes, though, Arsenal don't go that extra creepy mile in doing so:

As Arsenal only search bags, and not individuals, the visiting fans were probably able to smuggle some flares and smoke bombs down their trousers.

The regulation is clearly there in order to keep supporters safe in the stands, which is of course an admirable goal. However, given the size and shape of a typical flare, it's hard to imagine an effective implementation of the regulation that doesn't involve patting down every supporter who attends a match. That in itself is probably doable, but of course opens up a slippery slope--if some ultras really want to bring in flares or missiles, they will find ways, and without resorting either to strip searching grandfathers or profiling, it's hard to know what a club is exactly meant to do to curb the bad behavior of supporters.

Leaving policing concerns aside, it's also frankly stupid that if a traveling supporter can manage to break the rules and take advantage of a group of stewards just trying to keep people safe, that they can ruin the Champions League not only for their fans, but for their opponent as well. It all seems pretty absurd. But here we are; Arsenal face a fine, which, at the end of the day, probably won't hurt a ton, so, yay?

Bleurgh.