FC Barcelona won’t be able to forget their “embarrassing” UEFA Europa League exit at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt anytime soon. Apart from actually losing the tie 3-4 on aggregate, the club will need to revisit the devastating second leg as they face an investigation by governing body UEFA due to the unusual volume of away fans that were present inside the stadium.
The Camp Nou had a reputation for being one of the scariest venues to visit for rival teams. However, on Thursday evening, the stadium was bathed in white as approximately 30,000 Eintracht Frankfurt fans filled the stands. There was no distinct away section, as the German side’s supporters can be seen seated throughout every area of the stadium.
The scenes were embarrassing to say the least, but more importantly, this means that rules have clearly been breached. According to Spanish publication Marca, UEFA has strict mandates in order to maintain peace and order during matches. Fans from either team must be seated separately and the away section must be clearly identified.
For the Camp Nou, 5,000 seats have originally been allocated for the Eintracht Frankfurt fans. However, the numbers reached far beyond that, as evidenced by the white-washed crowd throughout the entire stadium.
Just one look at the stands can lead one to conclude that tickets meant for home fans have been acquired by the visitors. Not only that, it appears as though even the seats meant for club members and season ticket holders appear to have been occupied by white-clad Frankfurt fans. Apart from online ticket sales, some home fans have clearly sold tickets to away supporters.
As hosts, Barcelona will be investigated by UEFA and club president Joan Laporta has also vowed to take internal actions to prevent the same situation from happening again. Both he and manager Xavi Hernandez complained at the end of the fixture that it did not feel like a home match at all. At best, it felt like a neutral venue, but frankly, it almost seemed like an away match in their own home stadium.