“Please refrain from setting off pyrotechnics, such devices have no place in a football stadium, you are damaging your own club.” The announcement is heard in football stadiums across Germany on an almost weekly basis, often with a resigned, weary tone, as if the announcer knows full well that his words will have no effect on the balaclava-clad ultras setting off flares and smoke bombs in the stands. But on Saturday, as blue, white and black smoke billowed out from behind the goal at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion, there was no such warning after the German Football Association (DFB) granted permission for a one-off pyrotechnic display – a first in German football. Ahead of kick-off in the second-division fixture against Karlsruhe, ten HSV ultras stood freely in the area between the goal and Nordkurve terrace, each holding a smoke bomb strapped to a stick The devices were certified by Germany’s federal institute for material research and testing (BAM), were similar to the smoke bombs used in theater productions, and the whole process was supervised by club stewards, the fire service and a pyrotechnics expert. Buckets of sand were also provided. The experiment was a result of month-long discussions and test runs involving supporters, club and authorities… Read full this story
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