Borussia Dortmund have accepted the German Football Association’s (DFB) imposition of a partial stadium closure in the wake of the fan trouble that marred the Bundesliga win over RB Leipzig earlier this month.
It means the south stand of Signal Iduna Park – the club’s famous “Yellow Wall” – will be closed for the visit of Wolfsburg on Saturday, although Dortmund labelled the punishment as “drastic” in a club statement.
Protests inside the stadium and outbreaks of violence outside surrounded the match, which Thomas Tuchel’s side won 1-0, as sections of the Dortmund supporters made a public demonstration of their objection to Leipzig’s controversial ownership structure.
Local police arrested 28 people in relation to attacks on visiting fans and reported Leipzig supporters were pelted with various missiles on their way to the ground, with children and families also caught up in the violence.
However, the stadium closure and concurrent €100,000 fine relates solely to incidents that occurred within the stadium, with the DFB identifying “defamatory banners about Leipzig”, the throwing of filled beer mugs and Leipzig players being targeted with laser pens.
Dortmund had a suspended sentence in place until May 31 because of similar incidents but the club believes punishing all fans who normally attend matches on the 25,000-capacity terrace amount to a disproportionate response.
“Borussia Dortmund’s acceptance of the DFB supervisory committee’s demand for a penalty is based on our conviction that in the still emotional, loaded atmosphere at present, it is neither possible nor reasonable to conduct a substantial debate about ‘suitable’, ‘necessary’, ‘proportionate’ or ‘far-sighted’ punishment in the judicial sense,” the statement read.
“In addition we see the danger that BVB’s rejection of the penalty or parts of it could be misinterpreted as a lack of insight from the club into the flagrant misbehaviour of some of the fans. That impression would be disastrous!
“At this point, however, we would like to express that we consider a collective punishment against 25,000 fans – of which the overwhelming majority can neither be accused of a deed or blamed – to be disproportionate.”
Dortmund added that they would refund South Stand ticket holders for the Wolfsburg match, providing they were not involved in any of the unrest against Leipzig.
Fans who have bought one-off South Stand ticket for this weekend will be offered replacements for the final Bundesliga home match of the season versus Werder Bremen.
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