BERLIN (Reuters) – Hamburg SV supporters have been given permission to use pyrotechnics in a “controlled manner” before their next home game in a groundbreaking move for German football.
Germany’s football federation (DFB) said it had given permission for selected supporters to set off 10 smoke bombs behind the goal at the Volksparkstadion before the second division game against Karlsruhe on Saturday.
It is the first time supporters will be legally able to set off pyrotechnics at a German game and the DFB said it would be done under the supervision of a specialist company, with fire extinguishers and buckets of sand available.
“This is a one-off exceptional approval,” said the DFB, although it added that other clubs could also apply for similar permits.
“Such an exemption can only be granted if the liability and responsibility for the controlled use of pyrotechnics is assumed by the organisers themselves.”
Pyrotechnics are banned at football stadiums around Europe although the ban has proved nearly impossible to enforce and unauthorised displays are common.
German supporters view pyrotechnics as part of their fan culture, which is widely regarded as one of the most vibrant in Europe.
German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle has said Bundesliga clubs last season paid a combined total of over one million euros in fines for their fans’ use of flares, smoke bombs and fireworks.
Hamburg were the worst offenders, paying out 294,000 euros.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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