Borussia Dortmund's famous south stand will be empty on Saturday after the club opted not to contest a DFB sanction. The punishment was imposed after the misconduct of some BVB fans during their clash with RB Leipzig.
Dortmund said in a statement on Monday that it would not appeal against the German football association (DFB) order that was handed down last week. The DFB also opted to fine the club 100,000 euros ($107,000). The penallties relate to incidents that occurred during their home game against Leipzig earlier this month. This means that the south stand, which, with a capacity of 25,000, is European football's biggest standing terrace, will remain closed for Saturday's Bundesliga match against Wolfsburg.
"It is of elementary importance to us to again clearly express the fact that we in no way intend to play down the events surrounding the match against Rasenballsport Leipzig on February 4, 2017," the statement said.
It added that the club intend to punish the "offenders" and will present the results of their investigation into the incidents during the course of this week.
The statement also noted that senior members of BVB's management had personally apologized to their opposite numbers at RB Leipzig.
However, while accepting the DFB's sanctions, the Borussia Dortmund statement also noted that the club felt that imposing a "collective punishment" on 25,000 mainly innocent fans was disproportionate. It said it had a duty to make this point on behalf of the many supporters who regularly watch matches from the south stand without ever having caused any trouble.
During the Leipzig match, Dortmund supporters in the south stand (Südtribüne in German), held up banners insulting RB Leipzig and their fans, including one calling on the club's sporting director, Ralf Rangnick, to hang himself. They also threw plastic cups onto the pitch and irritated Leipzig players with laser pointers.
Women and children attacked
The more serious incidents, though, occurred outside the stadium prior to the match, when according to police, 350 to 400 hardcore "ultra" Dortmund fans attempted to block the RB Leipzig team bus. Later, they turned their attention to Leipzig fans arriving to watch the match.
"The violence was directed against any recognizable Leipzig supporter - regardless of whether they were children, women or families," Dortmund police said in a statement. They said the Dortmund supporters had hurled "stones, bottles, cans and beer cases" at the Leipzig fans, while also setting off fireworks.
Several Leipzig supporters and a few police officers were injured and dozens of people have been charged in connection with the pre-match violence. However, this was not part of the DFB's probe, as it did not occur inside the Signal Iduna Park.
pfd/mp (dpa, SID)