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Self-imposed ban on Beşiktaş fans at the Allianz Arena troubles Bayern Munich

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Beşiktaş will visit the Allianz Arena next week, but the club’s fans are supposed to stay home—at Beşiktaş’s request—putting Bayern in an awkward situation.

Olympique Lyonnais vs Besiktas JK : UEFA Europa League
Beşiktaş and Lyon fans brawl.
Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A strange sight awaits visitors to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening next week, when Turkish Super Lig champion Beşiktaş visits: the away fan block will be red—or mostly red. Through no fault of Bayern Munich itself, Beşiktaş fans will not be permitted in the Allianz Arena (TZ).

Beşiktaş’s trouble with UEFA

Olympique Lyonnais vs Besiktas JK : UEFA Europa League
Fans storm the pitch after fights break out between Beşiktaş and Lyon supporters.
Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The unusual decision is a consequence to a suspended ban that UEFA imposed on both Beşiktaş and Olympique Lyonnais after brawling between supporters of the two clubs in Lyon spilled onto the pitch, delaying the kickoff of the first leg of their Champions League tie last season for 45 minutes (in which Corentin Tolisso scored for Lyon).

If either club is guilty of any further incident, UEFA will impose a full two-year ban from European competition. Beşiktaş president Fikret Orman is taking no chances with the club’s rowdy fans this season and has voluntarily decided not to sell any away tickets to the club’s fans.

No Beşiktaş fans allowed

Bayern responded by opening the away fan bock to home fans. Thus, Bayern fans could also purchase tickets there, potentially selling out the Allianz Arena despite Beşiktaş’s voluntary absence. But the club has also cast fear into Bayern supporters used to a fairly laissez-faire policy regarding the resale of tickets. The club has announced,

On matchday . . . there will be very intense, strict admission control measures to ensure that no one who has illicitly been given a ticket enters the Allianz Arena.

Bayern thus is taking special precautions to ensure that no Beşiktaş fans surreptitiously enter the Allianz with scalped or resold tickets. But Bayern fans are afraid that the consequences of these measures may expose fans to racial profiling and unfair stadium bans.

Bayern fans fear racial profiling

Südkurve München envisioned a scenario in which a fan might refuse to sell a ticket to a genuine Bayern with a dark complexion for fear of inadvertently giving access to a Beşiktaş fan:

Imagine this situation: you have an extra ticket and want to sell it in outside the stadium, so you can make a Bayern fan happy. Now someone with a southern-European look comes up to you; he’s been a fan of Bayern for years. But of course you don’t know that. Do you perhaps hesitate to sell him the ticket on account of his appearance?

Soccer - UEFA Champions League Final 2012 - Bayern Munich v Chelsea - Preview Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

The consequences of being caught scalping or reselling to a Beşiktaş fan could be harsh, resulting even in a ticket ban for the seller. Bayern fan Club Nr. 12 acknowledged the “quandry” that Bayern finds itself in because of Beşiktaş, but stated “we wish we had seen a word of regret” from the club.

The fan clubs also fear that security personnel at the gates might racially profile fans entering the stadium. Bayern’s ticket service, in response, reiterated that “only Beşiktaş fans or fans in Beşiktaş gear will be denied entry.”