Quo Vadis Frankfurt?
The fines have been handed out by the DFB, Eintracht Frankfurt was fined 40,000 Euros and Karlsruher SC was fined 15,000 Euros respectively for not adequately providing security for the Officials and the Players. While both Clubs grudgingly accepted the verdicts and fines the only ones that seem to accept little responsibility are the “Fans” responsible for the incident. A statement released by the Ultras Frankfurt after meeting with Klaus Lötzbeier from Eintracht Frankfurt seems to indicate that the group is blaming the incident on not being able to perform a previously requested Choreography.
Is this really what Supporters are about? In this case it seems to basically come down to wanting to get your way like a small child and if that does not happen you are going to do whatever you like and blame it on those not giving in to your Childish behavior? Before you say to yourself “What does someone in the US know about this kind of thing” let me say this: I have been involved in the Soccer Fan Scene since I was 8 Years old and have seen and experienced quite a few things in that time both in Europe and more recently here in the US where the Fan Scene is slowly but steadily growing. I have experienced the age of old School Kuttenträger, had my share of Hooliganism and have a few scars to show for it and seen the Ultras Movement make its way on to the scene. I have always been fond of the Loyalty, creativity and the bond that is found in the most ardent Supporters of a Club and still maintain regular contact with people that shared some of the most amazing trips and experiences so many years ago.
While the Supporters groups can be described as the heart and soul of the Club and many are willing to follow their Club to the ends of the earth to attend not only regular season and International Games but also Training Camps, Friendlies, Indoor Tournaments, Public Appearances etc. there has been a disturbing trend of some types of Fans to basically attempt to blackmail “their” Club. Why is a good question, if the groups are doing what their mission statement seems to indicate “Unwavering Support of your Team through thick and thin” how can incidents like this show support of “Your” Club? Are incidents like this that result in fines, potential loss of points, playing in an empty stadium helping your Club and the Players achieve their goals or are they a way for your group to showcase itself and increase the groups standing in the world of Supporters Groups? Many times the latter unfortunately seems to be the major factor that drives the Groups to do things that seem to conflict with what they say they are all about and then when the repercussions come they tend to compound the problem by stating that they will protest as they are being unfairly persecuted. For an example of this see some of the excerpts translated from the statement:
Statement from the Frankfurt Ultras can be found here: http://www.uf97.de/
“This Thursday evening our group had a meeting with Klaus Lötzbeier (Board Member of the Eintracht Frankfurt Fussball AG). We as a group thought it to be best to wait until after this meeting to offer a public statement instead of prior to the meeting. Now that we had the meeting here is our statement in regards to what happened at the away match in Karlsruhe and the sanctions that the Eintracht Frankfurt Fussball AG has brought against the active Fan scene.
In Karlsruhe we were once again not allowed to display a previously made and officially requested Choreography. (Note: They have to be coordinated with and allowed by the teams) For that reason we decided ahead of time to not regulate our Fan Scene in regards to Pyrotechnics as we have done with our voluntary non use of Pyrotechnics since the game against Oberhausen in 2002. With minor small exceptions there has been nothing spectacular with Pyrotechnics in Frankfurt since 2002, even though we have always said that we generally are not going to distance ourselves from Pyrotechnics.
The Pyrotechnic display in Karlsruhe to start the 2nd Half, with the exception of the two flares at the end that landed on the field, was absolutely in order.
Since we have been told that we cannot bring anything to away matches we have decided to not bring anything to the home match against Schalke this weekend. We will not hang banners, flags or participate in any chants or songs. As long as our own Club, Eintracht Frankfurt, continues to impose these penalties we will not be able to support the Club in the way we always have.”
Ultras Frankfurt, 26.02.2009
Now I ask you, does this sound like a group that is acknowledging it made an error and is accepting responsibility or a group that is blaming everyone else for this incident and wants the Club to give in to its demands?