Arsenal match vs Cologne delayed one hour for fan safety concerns

Cologne supporters are making the most of their first European match in 25 years against Arsenal.

The Europa League game between Arsenal and FC Cologne on Thursday was delayed by one hour due to concerns over crowd safety, club officials said.

Arsenal said the number of Cologne fans outside the Emirates Stadium were preventing home supporters from accessing the turnstiles, causing the kickoff to be pushed back from 8:05 p.m. to 9:05 p.m. local time.

Cologne had only been allocated about 3,000 tickets for the game, but nearly 20,000 of the club’s fans reportedly travelled to London.

The disturbances meant security officials were keeping all the gates closed, and the stadium was still nearly empty about 30 minutes ahead of the original kickoff time.

Police said at least five German fans were arrested. Still, the scene outside the Emirates remained largely peaceful with no reports of serious clashes as thousands of fans waited to be allowed inside.

Earlier in the day, thousands of Cologne fans marched through central London and brought popular shopping streets in SoHo to a near standstill.

The club is playing in a European competition for the first time in 25 years.

Mattias is ESPN FC’s Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.

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