EM 2024: The EM organizers seem to lack confidence

EM 2024: The EM organizers seem to lack confidence
EM 2024: The EM organizers seem to lack confidence

Overcrowded trains, chaos outside the stadiums: Unlike the DFB team, the European Championship organizers have so far appeared to be lacking in confidence. Germany, the next European champions? Perhaps. World champions of organization? Hardly.

2.7 million spectators in ten stadiums, twelve million football fans in the fan zones. A European Championship is an event of superlatives. One or two mishaps are inevitable.

But travel chaos on arrival and departure, scuffles in front of the arenas, a fake mascot at the opening match, an Englishman who supposedly spent the night in the stadium? In the first few days of the tournament, there is little sign of the legendary German order. Or, as the sports section of the “New York Times” recently headlined: “Euro 2024 and German efficiency: Forget everything you thought you knew.”

The Song of Bear

It started at the opening match: Youtuber Marvin Wildhage faked a press accreditation for the match between Germany and Scotland, slipped into the costume of the European Championship mascot Albärt and walked unmolested into the Allianz Arena – right up to the edge of the pitch (the star reported)

What sounds like a harmless anecdote is nothing other than a massive security gap. The “incident”, as UEFA subsequently called it, does not exactly inspire confidence – especially since, according to a survey by the opinion research institute YouGov, every second German fears an attack during the European Championship. At least the Federal Ministry of the Interior was satisfied with the start of the tournament. The initial assessment is positive, “the security measures are working”, said the ministry’s spokesperson.

… and dormice

Then the day after the Bellingham show in Gelsenkirchen. An anonymous Englishman posts a 20-second video on Tiktok in which he claims (apparently with a great hangover) to have just woken up. At four in the morning. In the Veltins Arena. The clip goes viral. Those responsible are at a loss for explanations.

Stadium operator Schalke 04 refers to UEFA, which claims that the video is a fake. It is “obvious that this video was not recorded during the tournament or even in the last few weeks,” the European Football Union said in response to a request from the star in writing. After all, neither signage nor EM branding could be seen. In fact, not even line markings could be seen on the pitch – which would have to be the case “if the video had actually been recorded in the hours after the game.”

According to research by star/RTL, however, finds parts of the explanation questionable. Lines can be seen on closer inspection, and the patterns on the video cube match photos taken during the game. In a second video, the colorful EM elements can also be clearly seen on the boards.

Unpunctual like a train in Germany

After the match, thousands of Serbian and English fans waited for hours for trams to the city center – only to be stranded there. A special ICE train heading for Essen, Düsseldorf and Cologne arrived at Gelsenkirchen Central Station 70 minutes late. Some travelers had to wait until late at night. There were reportedly problems even on the journey: UEFA had sidelined the fans, wrote a reporter from the British “Guardian”. His own journey was “just one story of logistical incontinence among many others”. The “New York Times” also wrote of “miserable conditions on the way to and from the games”. This was not “what the rest of Europe expected”, according to the newspaper.

At least local operators didn’t want to know anything about the departure chaos. “As a transport company, we did an adequate job,” said a spokesman for the local transport company Bogestra. The city is also surprised by the outrage, as “everything went perfectly.” The next day, Deutsche Bahn admitted that there were “significant backlogs.”

Also starReporters were able to experience the transport chaos elsewhere. At Munich’s Odeonsplatz, nothing was moving three hours before kick-off. The stewards on the platforms were friendly but helpless. On the way to Fröttmaning, the jam-packed trains stopped several times along the route, the carriages resembled large, mobile saunas. Similar scenes occurred in Berlin. No special trains were used here to spread out the crowds streaming to the Olympic Stadium. Those who did manage to get on the subway experienced stuffy air and broken windows.

Chaos in front of the European Championship stadiums

Before the Spain vs. Croatia match, there were tumultuous scenes in front of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. People fell down at the overcrowded turnstiles, others trampled over them. Bags were checked half-heartedly in view of the rush, there was no time for security. People without tickets took advantage of the chaos, shouting and pushing their way into the stadium – only to later block the emergency exits. The stewards? Completely overwhelmed. “This is shit,” shouted a head of operations, his face bright red. Many volunteers didn’t even know where he was standing. Many had no idea where the entrances to the stadium were, which fans were asking them about.

On renewed starWhen asked whether there were any problems with the organization, UEFA simply confirmed that a fake bear had gained unauthorized access to the Allianz Arena in Munich and continued to deny the English overnight guest. Otherwise, they had “no further comments to make.”

All’s well that ends well in football?

Despite everything, this home European Championship is restoring faith in football “from the past” to some extent. It seems to have returned to the hearts of those who have always remained loyal to it, millions of fans united on the streets, in the stadiums, in front of the televisions. If, yes, if only everything else would work out just as well.

Because in the end, the tournament has to be compared to other European and World Championships, including the World Cup in Qatar. There, in the desert, under the hundred suns of Doha, the overall organization was excellent, but the atmosphere was bad. In Germany, it might be the other way around.

But perhaps where there is work, there are always chips. Or as Andreas Schär, UEFA’s managing director of Euro 2024 GmbH, which is responsible for the organisation, puts it: “A tournament as big as this is like inviting an elephant into a china shop.”

Source: Stern

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