Theoretically, the almost 30,000 Eintracht fans in the second leg of the Europa League could have simply celebrated at Camp Nou. At the following Barcelona home game on Monday against Cadiz (0-1 defeat) only 57,000 spectators appeared in the big bowl. The people of Frankfurt would have had enough space with an “after-show party”.
But even without the physical presence, the appearance of the Eintracht fans is still omnipresent in Barcelona. After their celebration at the Camp Nou, Barca’s president Joan Laporta announced that in future he would only sell personalized tickets for international matches. He is not the only reason why he is the focus of criticism and could even fear for his office.
Fan alliance speaks of a “humiliation”
On Monday, up to 200 fans demonstrated against him, singing “Laporta’s resignation” and “Barça, that’s us” over and over again. The “Nostra Ensenya” alliance described the large number of Frankfurt fans in an entry on Instagram as “humiliation” and accused Laporta of having “endangered” the “physical integrity” of the home fans. It was more the Spaniards, the Eintrachtler like ex-player Martin Fenin attacked.
“I am ashamed and apologize. It will never happen again. We have information about what happened. It is outrageous and shameful. We will act and explain it,” Spanish media quoted Laporta right after leaving in view of the many guests -fans. On Tuesday, he held a press conference in which he apologized to Barcelona stadium-goers who were made “uncomfortable” by the “massive presence of German fans”.
“We will switch to personalized tickets in international games and also in some special games,” he said, emphasizing that there were 27,201 ticket requests from Germany and that the system was overwhelmed. Organized traders would then have passed on the cards. “We bear no blame, but full responsibility for the incident.” Eintracht board member Axel Hellmann had on Monday in the hr home game! reported about itthat Laporta asked him about the reasons for the enthusiasm of the people of Frankfurt.
Season ticket holders were allowed to sit out
Author Sid Lowe, a connoisseur of Spanish football, wrote for ESPN a clever analysis of the ticket situation in Barcelona. The club has 85,000 season ticket holders but only an average attendance of 55,000. During the corona pandemic, Barcelona gave annual ticket holders the option to take a year off. That may have looked like an honorable act, but gave the financially highly indebted club the opportunity to earn more overall through individual seat sales than through the price of season tickets.
Many of the remaining season ticket holders took the opportunity to sell their tickets to SGE fans on Thursday. The game didn’t have the same meaning for them as it did for Frankfurt. On the other hand, Barcelona supporters were not willing to pay that much money for tickets for a Europa League game against a hitherto largely unknown opponent. That seems legitimate given the club’s claim and the horrendous prices. against Cadiz, this is what the account @beves_welt tweetedup to 209 euros were charged for a seat.
The club cuts itself in the flesh
Laporta also said after the game against Frankfurt: “The Germans could not buy the 34,000 tickets on sale because they could not be purchased with a German credit card or IP.” But he underestimated the creativity of the Frankfurters: Quite a few asked Spanish acquaintances to book the tickets with their credit card, or used providers who disguise the IP address. Another mistake in the President’s thinking would be the introduction of personalized tickets, which would primarily harm his own fans.
Of course, the club could prevent a fan party for the visiting team in the future, but in regular operation the club is dependent on reselling the tickets if they don’t want to see too many empty seats at the Camp Nou. Barcelona benefits from the “tourists” revenue model in the stadiumwho only want to see the big stadium once or are visiting the metropolis. ESPN aptly wrote:
It has a system of selling tickets to “tourists” for higher prices. (…) But on Thursday there were no “tourists”, but real Frankfurt fans, loyal and loud, who followed their team en masse for an unforgettable night. And that was what made it special in the end; a unique evening that deserved exactly such a celebration by the people of Frankfurt.ESPN, US sports broadcaster
So the great FC Barcelona slides into an identity crisis; local media write that he is in a “black hole”. Barca courted day-trippers for years, marketing visiting the stadium as a “unique and unforgettable experience” for a football fan. You can say: That’s exactly what the supporters of Eintracht Frankfurt absolutely savored.