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Borussia Dortmund fans stage ticket price protest by throwing tennis balls onto the pitch

As EUR 19.50 was the cheapest ticket available, fans of Dortmund expressed their displeasure

Hummels Dortmund
Dortmund defender Mat Hummels pleaded with the fans to stop throwing tennis balls

A section of Borussia Dortmund supporters staged a rather unique protest in the Mercedes Benz Arena where hosts Vfb Stuttgart suffered a 1-3 loss to Dortmund in theie DFB Pokal quarterfinal last night. The supporters threw tennis balls on the pitch in protest of the high prices of the allocated away section.

Initially, the supporters had had boycotted the first 20 minutes of the match, with large sections of the away support being completely empty. As the supporters ended their boycott and made their way into the stadium, they underlined their displeasure with the ticket pricing by throwing tennis balls onto the pitch.

The significance of tennis balls being thrown onto the pitch in Germany, is that tennis is commonly viewed as a sport of the affuent, while football is seen as one that belongs to the masses. In that vein, the Dortmund supporters also unfurled a banner that read ‘fussball muss bezalhbarsein’ (football must be affordable).

The sudden appearance of a huge number of tennis balls on the pitch caused the referee to stop the game, as the man in the middle was aided by the players in cleaning up the balls thrown onto the pitch, with Mat Hummels imploring the protesters to stop.

Ticket prices becoming huge issue

Borussia Dortmund are famed for having one of the most ardent supporter groups in the world, but even as members of the Yellow wall travelled to Stuttgart, they were met with dismay at the pricing of the tickets. Since the quarterfinal clash against Dortmund was deemed a big game, Stuttgart priced almost 25% of the away seats at €70 (INR 5370), which is a rather high amout in the usually affordable pricing structure throughout the Bundesliga.

The cheapest seats available to the Dortmund fans weren’t too cheap either, priced at €38.50 (INR 2950). Standing sections are prevalent in the Bundesliga, allowing cheap tickets to be sold, but even those were priced at €19.50 (INR 1500). While this may not seem too bad as a one-off expense, the cost of travelling away to support a ‘big’ team like Borussia Dortmund quickly adds up for their supporters, as opposing teams will routinely price the tickets at a higher range.

Liverpool supporters recently staged a walkout to protest a £77 (INR 7600) priced ticket, and might look on in jealousy at their German neighnours protesting a €19.50 ticket, but with fans repeatedly voicing their disapproval in myriad ways, perhaps clubs will start paying their grievances more attention.

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