One of the things that we (regrettably) didn't cover after Tottenham Hotspur's 3-0 loss to Dortmund in the first leg of their Europa League knock-out series was incidents of violence outside the Westfalenstadion before the match. In what seems like a regrettable and unusual circumstance with Dortmund police and stewards, traveling Tottenham supporters were injured trying to get inside the Signal Iduna Park to watch the match.
Now, UEFA is weighing in on the incidents, and has charged Dortmund with "breach of safety and security regulations." Initial, unconfirmed eyewitness reports said that Dortmund stewards "threw punches" at Tottenham supporters and pepper-sprayed some while they attempting to enter the stadium. Spurs supporters blamed "misdirection" of the crowd for an extended crush outside the away supporter gates. The end result was 17 injuries, with one person reportedly leaving the stadium on a stretcher.
Freelance journalist and Spurs fan Emma Storey relayed her experience in an open letter to the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust that she posted on Twitter. She described her experience as frightening and "like nothing I'd ever dealt with before."
The THST released a statement noting that it has compiled a list of eyewitness reports from the stadium that it plans to send to Tottenham, BVB, and UEFA.
It is important to note that the incidents seem to involve Tottenham supporters clashing with Dortmund stewards and police officers, not supporters. All indications suggest that the Dortmund supporters inside the stadium were on balance courteous and respectful during and after the match.
No formal statement has been made on the websites of either club, though according to the Standard a Spurs official made the following statement after the Dortmund match:
The misdirection of our fans by police along with the closing of turnstiles created a potentially dangerous situation. The use of pepper sprays was completely unnecessary and unacceptable. We arranged for our fans to meet with officials of Borussia Dortmund immediately after the game. We have also spoken to officials at the club and they have taken on board our concerns.
The hearing won't take place until May, which means that any sanctions issued won't take effect until next season. It is possible that Dortmund could play a European match (Champions League or otherwise) behind closed doors as a result of the charges. Dortmund police are also reportedly investigating the pepper spray incidents internally.
Tottenham host Dortmund in the second leg of their Europa League tie at White Hart Lane on Thursday.