It was supposed to be a football festival and started as a big party on the Cote d'Azur, but then a dark shadow fell over 1. FC Cologne's comeback in the European Cup: the Bundesliga team's Conference League game was canceled due to serious riots OGC Nice was initially postponed by one hour on Thursday.
After a security meeting, Uefa decided that the game should start at 7:40 p.m. instead of 6:45 p.m. This was announced at 6:57 p.m. over the stadium microphones in German and French. In the event of another incident, the game will be stopped immediately.
Around 50 masked Cologne residents had initially attacked the French block. Flares, e-scooters, chairs and tables flew during the ensuing argument. It took more than five minutes for the police to get the situation under control again. Around five minutes later, Nice supporters attacked the Cologne block. This time the situation was under control more quickly. Nothing was initially known about injuries and arrests.
Cologne's captain Jonas Hector and Nice's captain Dante stepped in front of their fan blocks with microphones. "We wanted to celebrate a football festival with you. We still want to play, but of course we can't approve of that," said Hector: "We worked our ass off to qualify for the Conference League and we want this here also play. Please keep quiet, we want to celebrate football here and not have violence."
At midday, thousands of FC fans paraded through the city and celebrated their club's return to the European Cup with carnival hits and a big parade. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi was upset with the legacy and behavior of FC supporters.
"I regret the rude and scandalous behavior of the Cologne fans and the lack of respect for the city, which welcomes them generously and brotherly," he tweeted with photos of garbage leftovers in the city. "We will send the invoices for damage and the cleaning of public places to the Cologne club," he announced.
Deputy Mayor Pierre-Paul Léonelli also tweeted pictures and wrote: "Who says the Germans are disciplined?" He pointed out that the security forces had immediately cleaned the "shabby" dirt from the Place Masséna and wrote about two and a half hours before kick-off: "OGC Nice 1, 1. FC Cologne 0."
The Cologne fans also passed the team hotel during their parade through the city. There they celebrated coach Steffen Baumgart with loud chants. On the roof of the hotel, Baumgart took off his cap and greeted the supporters.