Spurs fans claim 'serious mistakes' made by officials in Dortmund

The co-chairman of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust has described a crush that developed outside Borussia Dortmund's ground as one of the worst experiences he has had since the 1970s.

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust Borussia Dortmund

Tottenham had a day to forget on and off the field at Dortmund Source: AAP

Seventeen Spurs fans were treated for injuries caused by police pepper spray while another fan was reportedly carried away on a stretcher prior to Friday morning's (AEDT) UEFA Europa League tie.

Martin Cloake of THST described a large group of Tottenham supporters being led to the wrong entrance of the Westfalenstadion by police.

A crush developed as they were directed towards the correct entrance while more fans attempted to make their way into the ground, with the situation exacerbated when the gate was closed.

Cloake told Press Association Sport: "I've been going to football since the late 70s and it's one of the worst experiences I've had to get into a ground.

"I was very surprised because you expect it to be well organised. It's one of the largest stadiums in Europe.

"There was a complete breakdown of communication between the stewards inside the ground and the police, who were responsible for everything that happens outside.

"No one seemed willing or able to take responsibility for what was happening outside the gates. I think it was back to this old mentality of seeing the fans as a potential problem.

"It had been very good natured during the day, there hadn't been any hint of any aggression at all. It was just this 45 minutes before kick-off where they made serious mistakes outside the ground."

Cloake and his co-chair Katrina Law met with officials from both clubs after the game and are continuing their dialogue.

A statement from Dortmund Police read: "The majority of English fans arrived at the stadium shortly before the game, so there was pressure on the north entrance. This allowed about 80 supporters of Tottenham to come freely into the stadium.

"At first the entrance gates were temporarily closed by the security service. They then re-opened the entrances to confrontations between visiting fans and security service employees.

"Due to the conflicts, the gates had to be closed again, which was only possible through the support of police forces.

"In order to prevent an uncontrolled entrance of the followers of Tottenham, pepper spray and baton was used by the police, in which 17 English supporters were slightly injured due to eye irritation.

"Furthermore, a police officer and five employees of the security service were wounded in the course of these measures."

Tottenham were unhappy with the situation, with a spokesman saying: "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."

Law expressed relief there appear to have been no serious injuries and hopes their concerns will be listened to.

She cited the experience of Tottenham fans at an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough eight years prior to the disaster that cost the lives of 96 Liverpool supporters.

Law said: "It was a dangerous situation and it could have been a fatal situation.

"This is not about trying to get anything done in terms of last night, in terms of fines or anything, it's about Dortmund learning what went wrong and making the necessary measures to make sure this doesn't happen to any other set of fans in the future.

"We've been through this before. If people had listened to what happened to Spurs fans at Hillsborough, then Hillsborough wouldn't have happened. So it's key for us that Dortmund listen."

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4 min read
Published 12 March 2016 at 6:52am
By Eleanor Crooks
Source: PA Sport