VBefore Eintracht Frankfurt’s explosive Champions League game at Italian top club SSC Naples, the dispute over the admission of guest fans escalated – with a surprising reaction from the Bundesliga soccer club. The club will “completely forego the away contingent if, contrary to expectations, the availability does not change at short notice,” announced board member Philipp Reschke in a club statement late on Sunday evening.
This was preceded by another turnaround in the ticket posse. Just one day after the fan exclusion was lifted, the Prefecture of Naples issued a new sales ban for some of the Hessians’ supporters before the round of 16 second leg on Wednesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on DAZN). The new decree is directed against all residents of the city of Frankfurt. The authorities want to continue to prevent fans of the Bundesliga soccer club from traveling to Naples for the game against the Serie A leaders.
“The new decree is no less illegal in content and justification and also completely unsuitable because two thirds of our fans are known to come from the Rhine-Main region and not from Frankfurt,” Reschke commented on the order and added: “There might be countless ways to actually circumvent this decree and bring some of our fans into the stadium. But first of all, we won’t let ourselves be split up into zip code areas. And secondly, we don’t want to expose anyone on site to the obvious danger of official arbitrariness, as we have been experiencing in an unprecedented form with all those responsible in Naples since the first leg.
Assaults in the first leg
The competent administrative court in the Campania region had previously granted an urgent application by the Hessians to issue an injunction against the ban issued by the Naples Prefecture on selling tickets to people residing in Germany. The court justified its decision with the fact that the general exclusion of all fans from Germany was disproportionate. The Prefect Claudio Palomba reacted to this with a new decree, which is only explicitly aimed at fans who live in Frankfurt.
The city wants to avoid “risks to the protection of order and public safety” that could possibly threaten when Frankfurt fans travel to southern Italy. The prefecture referred to incidents surrounding the first leg as justification. On the edge of Eintracht’s 2-0 defeat, there were physical attacks on Italian fans in Frankfurt. Nine people were briefly taken into custody.
After an injunction by the Europa League winners from Frankfurt was granted on Saturday, club officials were still celebrating. “This is of course a great satisfaction, a milestone, which was also unexpected for our Italian lawyers,” Reschke commented on the surprising turnaround in the unprecedented case.
The mood at SSC Napoli was completely different after the court’s ruling. The club said it was “deeply concerned by the decision to allow German fans access to the game,” citing “the concrete possibility that riots could break out, as noted by the Interior Ministry’s Sports Events Analysis Committee.” The administrative court must “take responsibility for possible incidents,” the statement said.
“It is of course our wish that our fans are allowed to travel to Naples. It’s always an incredible support. That’s why we’re happy about this decision. That’s a nice thing,” said Frankfurt’s sports director Markus Krösche on Saturday after the meager 1: 1 (0: 0) of the Hessians at the dress rehearsal in the Bundesliga home game against VfB Stuttgart about the court’s decision. “But we have to wait for the next few days.” Already on Sunday evening there was a new situation.