PHOTO OF THE WEEK: The Emirates Stadium… on fire?
Flares and overt crowd trouble are not synonymous with English football, so it always makes for a vibrant and peculiar scene when firearms, fireworks and smoke filter their way into Premier League stadiums. Last season, Galatasaray’s fans, clearly aggravated by an early Danny Welbeck brace, showered the corner of the Emirates pitch with flares, forcing the game to be stalled shortly before half time during their Champions League group game.
Golden boy Wesley Sneijider subsequently headed to that corner of the stadium to calm them down with fears of potential UEFA sanctions. Sanchez would later score and Welbeck would complete his hattrick in a convincing 4-1 win, which also saw Wojciech Szczesny sent off for a needless foul.
Interestingly, there was initially a genuine case for UEFA to prosecute Arsenal’s stewardship of the visiting supporters for “insufficient organisation (lack of body searching)” of arriving fans. Eventually, such chargers were dropped, and the Turkish team were handed a meager 40,000 Euro fine and forced to settle any stadium damages with Arsenal within 30 days.
Bonus: On the same night that season, FC Basel fans faced identical charges for setting off flares in their Champions League game versus Liverpool.
Extra bonus: Feyenoord and Standard Liege’s fans were also fined in the same week for crowd trouble in Europa League games.
Question: Why are flares so uncommonly used in British football?