LONDON: Arsenal said they were investigating how vast numbers of away fans gained access to the home sections of Emirates Stadium for their clash with Cologne, sparking ugly scenes that marred the Europa League clash.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he had been preparing for a postponement at the north London ground, describing the decision to play the game as a “gamble”.
Visiting fans were issued with 3,000 tickets but around 20,000 fans of the German club are believed to have made the journey to the British capital.
The start of the match was delayed by an hour as ticketless Cologne fans sought to gain entry to the ground and there were clearly thousands of away supporters sitting among Arsenal fans, causing a security risk.
Five arrests were made and Arsenal issued a statement insisting the safety of supporters was the main concern at the time.
Earlier, YouTube footage showed thousands of Cologne fans surging through the streets of London, chanting in unison and setting off flares.
“Following last night’s UEFA Europa League match with Cologne, we would like to stress that fan safety was always our paramount concern and informed all decisions made,” Arsenal’s statement said.
“We have launched a full review into the circumstances surrounding the game and will ensure any lessons that can be learned are used in the future.”
A UEFA probe is also likely after pictures emerged of a minority of Cologne supporters causing problems for stewards inside the stadium.