Eintracht Frankfurt board member Philipp Reschke has strongly condemned the riots before and after the Champions League game at top Italian club SSC Naples. “We deeply regret the events that have taken place here. There is absolutely nothing to justify this violence. We may have all feared it, but it is and will not be acceptable,” said Reschke on Thursday before the team left.
The violence that erupted in street battles surrounding Wednesday night’s game, which Frankfurt lost 3-0, has far-reaching repercussions. “It harms football, it harms Eintracht Frankfurt and it harms our efforts to stand up for the rights of all fans, who would have liked to see a football game here without repression and decrees in the stadium,” emphasized Reschke.
The police have confirmed to the club that the attack in the city came from Naples fans. “But even that doesn’t justify the potential for violence that erupted on both sides,” criticized Reschke. According to him, at least no one was injured. The police confirmed this. After the violent clashes, the Frankfurt Ultras were largely taken out of the city by Thursday morning.
Eintracht criticism of security authorities
Reschke also criticized the Italian security authorities, who had contributed to the escalation with the previously issued ticket ban for Eintracht fans. This alienated thousands of followers and poisoned the already tense atmosphere. “Everything was prepared and organized, from the fan meeting point to the transports, etc. This order was exchanged for improvisation and chaos,” said Reschke. “It doesn’t justify anything, but it’s part of the story.”
Also on this Thursday morning, the Neapolitan police took stock of the incidents: Eight fans were arrested after the riots, including three fans of Eintracht Frankfurt, as Naples police chief Alessandro Giuliano announced. Six police officers were injured, Giuliano continued. A total of 470 Eintracht fans were brought to the police headquarters for identification. 120 of them have now left Italy. According to the police, another 350 German fans are still in the office of the city of Salerno south of Rome. The investigations into the riots are in full swing. A special meeting of the security authorities in the city has been scheduled for this Thursday.
Even before the game, there had been serious riots in the city center between the two fan camps and the police on Wednesday afternoon. According to Italian media reports, hooded Naples supporters around the hotels of the German fans and the Frankfurt team fought further clashes with the police during the night. Italian media reported “guerrilla” fighting in the streets and alleys of the city. During the clashes, the hooligans threw stones, flares, tables and chairs at opposing fans and the police, among other things. They used tear gas and water cannons. A police car was set on fire and several outside areas of bars and restaurants were destroyed.
After a legal stalemate, the Italian authorities had banned the sale of tickets to people from Frankfurt, and Eintracht then waived the entire guest contingent.
Italy’s government is demanding penalties
The Italian government meanwhile demanded harsh penalties. “I hope these criminals will be brought to justice,” Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said. His solidarity applies “to the police forces and the city of Naples in the face of this serious violence”. The right-wing ruling party Lega led by Matteo Salvini also made demands on the German government in view of the clashes. This should “pay for the damage,” it said: “The Ministry of the Interior was right when it asked for a transfer ban for these hooligans.”
Naples Mayor Gaetano Manfredi, who spoke to Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi on Wednesday, later reported of “crazy and unacceptable devastation.” Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) wrote on Twitter: “This evening’s violence must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Violent criminals and chaos are destroying the sport.”