Why Arsenal could be punished for Galatasaray fan trouble

Turkish fans threw flares and set off firecrackers, but Uefa says Gunners should have stopped them

Police watch over Galatasaray supporters during the match between Arsenal and Galatasaray
(Image credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty)

Arsenal face disciplinary action from Uefa after crowd disturbances marred their 4-1 victory at home to Galatasaray on Wednesday evening. Although Danny Welbeck was the star of the show in the Gunners' victory with his first career hat-trick, the match was also remembered for a five-minute spell in the first-half when some of the 3,000 contingent of Turkish fans threw flares on to the pitch and exploded firecrackers in the stands.

The referee was forced to halt the match while the flares were extinguished, and only a personal plea from Galatasaray captain Wesley Sneijder and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera quelled the disturbances. According to the Evening Standard, the Metropolitan Police made six arrests during the Group D Champions League clash, two of which were for entering the ground with flares.

Arsenal find themselves with a case to answer because Uefa regulations stipulate that it is the home side's responsibility to search supporters for any illegal items on their way through the turnstiles. As a result Arsenal have been charged with "insufficient organisation" by Uefa and the case will be heard by their disciplinary board on 16 October

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Arsenal responded to the charge with a brief statement in which they said: "Crowd safety is always a top priority for us and we were disappointed with the incidents... which occurred despite extensive searches of away supporters as they entered the stadium and close liaison with police, Uefa and visiting club officials."

Even if they are found guilty Arsenal's punishment will be minor but that is unlikely to be the case for Galatasaray, Borussia Dortmund and Basel, who have also been charged by Uefa following events in Wednesday evening.

The Turks stand accused of "crowd disturbances " and "setting-off and throwing of fireworks", as do Swiss side Basel. During their 1-0 defeat of Liverpool at St Jakob Park a "battery appeared to be thrown in the direction of the assistant referee" near to the Basel goal". Dortmund fans are also charged with crowd disturbances following their 3-0 victory away at Anderlecht.

According to the Standard if the clubs receive a guilty verdict they "could be hit by a fine from the European governing body, or be ordered to play matches behind close doors".

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Bill Mann is a football correspondent for The Week.co.uk, scouring the world's football press daily for the popular Transfer Talk column.