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Arsenal’s Europa League match delayed by an hour amid disorder

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London
– Arsenal’s Europa League group stage match at home to FC Cologne was delayed by an hour on Thursday, with extra police deployed to deal with disorder at The Emirates Stadium.

The Group H clash was due to kick-off at 1905 GMT but UEFA and the club announced it would be delayed in the interests of crowd safety just 45 minutes before the scheduled start.

“The match between Arsenal and Koln will be delayed for a minimum of one hour in the interests of crowd safety,” European soccer’s governing body, the competition organisers, said.

British media reported that 20,000 Cologne fans had made their way through London towards the stadium, despite only 3,000 tickets being allocated to the German club, who were playing in European competition for the first time in 25 years.

A Metropolitan Police statement said extra officers had been sent to the stadium in north London, after scuffles broke out.

“Officers are dealing with disorder at the Emirates Stadium where fans have gathered for the Arsenal vs FC Koln match,” it said. “A policing plan is in place for the game. Additional officers have been deployed.”

Local media said the number of away fans around the stadium was preventing home supporters getting in, although they were eventually allowed to enter the ground after the delayed kick off was announced. – AFP