On the day after the incidents in Nice, which left many injured and almost led to the first Conference League fixture being called off, 1. FC Köln are now going to great lengths to clarify the situation. The aim to understand the background, to question processes, collect several perspectives and to discuss possible measures with security forces and associations.
Managing Director, Christian Keller spoke on Friday afternoon: “We are all very upset about what happened. That has nothing to do with football and completely contradicts the values of 1. FC Köln. On both sides, it was a small minority of under 100 people who caused the violent events to transpire within the stadium. More than 7,900 of the 8,000 FC fans had nothing to do with the violence. A sweeping statement against our fans and especially our active fan scene is therefore false. We will now work intensively to clarify what happened, in close contact with the Köln Police and then take action against the identified perpetrators with all consequences.”
The investigation into the incidents began immediately after full-time. Alongside the internal discussions, there is contact to all relevant security agencies, to UEFA and naturally to the fan scene. It is particularly regrettable that the FC security officers, together with UEFA, had already pointed out potential risks and gaps in the security concept to the French security authorities involved and the representatives of OGC Nice several times in the build-up to the match during the security meetings prior to the match. Unfortunately, these warnings, which had not been heeded, were confirmed during the course of the day, when French hooligans attacked FC fans in the city and around the stadium.
What is just as regrettable is that the violence overshadowed the return of 1. FC Köln to the European football stage. This does not do justice to what the team, the coaching staff and the backroom staff at 1. FC Köln have achieved. Jonas Hector mentioned this in his message to the Köln block before kick-off: “We did everything to qualify for Europe last year and again in the play-offs – and now we ask you to keep calm, stay calm and support us as best you can. That is what the club want, that you stick together and support football peacefully and without violence.”
The process of coming to terms with the incidents that has now been initiated will take time and will involve 1. FC Köln and the security authorities for several weeks. Discussions will have to be held, video footage reviewed, and procedures reconstructed. All eyewitnesses can contribute to the reappraisal of the incidents. For this purpose, the Köln Police have set up an investigation group at the Kriminalkommissariat 45 and, in conjunction with this, have activated an evidence portal (https://nrw.hinweisportal.de/2022090908-/de/upload) where photos or videos of the incidents can be uploaded. The aim is to find the most detailed information possible to shed light on the events. 1. FC Köln ask for as many relevant tips as possible in order to identify the perpetrators of the violence on Thursday evening.