February 5 – For years fans all over Europe have fallen foul of UEFA rules banning letting off flares, with clubs sanctioned accordingly. But now, for the first time, the German FA has granted permission for ‘legal’ pyrotechnics in a domestic fixture.
When Hamburg face Karlsruhe in Bundesliga 2 on Saturday, home supporters will be allowed to use pyrotechnics in a controlled environment.
The German Football Association (DFB) has officially given HSV permission to set off ten smoke bombs behind the goal at the Volksparkstadion as the teams walk out.
The one-off display will be carried out by selected supporters and supervised throughout by a pyrotechnics expert. The fire brigade will also be on hand with fire extinguishers and buckets of sand.
The experiment is a first in professional football in Germany. Last season, Bundesliga clubs were ordered to pay a combined total of €1,056,525 in fines for their fans’ use of flares, smoke bombs and fireworks. Second division Hamburg were the worst offenders, especially when up against arch local rivals St Pauli.
Club officials have long been trying to find a workable solution for supporters, who consider pyrotechnics an integral part of their fan culture.
“This is a one-off exceptional approval,” said the DFB, although it added that other clubs could also apply for similar permits. “Such an exemption can only be granted if the liability and responsibility for the controlled use of pyrotechnics is assumed by the organisers themselves.”
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