FC Copenhagen embroiled in discrimination scandal

The football club faces criticism after having pulled tickets from purchasers with foreign-sounding names

Fans of FC Copenhagen are eagerly waiting for their team to tackle Juventus, Real Madrid and Galatasaray in the Champions League group games starting September 17. That excitement was recently replaced by anger however when several fans got their ticket purchases cancelled. 

Claiming it was for security reasons, the ticket office in Parken football stadium pulled ticket purchases that were made to persons with 'foreign-sounding' names.

READ MORE: FC Copenhagen to face Real Madrid and Juve in Champions League

Atila Momeni was among those who had his purchase annulled. The 24-year-old is of Iranian decent but was born and raised in Copenhagen. 

“After buying tickets for all three group games, with money taken out of my bank account, I received an email telling me that for security reasons my purchase had been cancelled," Momeni told the football website Goal.com. "I then discovered that many others – none of Danish descent – had experienced the same. A wish for greater security is understandable, but it is unacceptable and discriminatory that the only fans to receive this treatment were those with foreign names. We feel incredibly discriminated. We often suffer racism in Denmark but I would never have thought that we would be treated this way when it came to football."

Momeni wasn't alone in feeling hurt. 

"This is the most degrading thing I've experienced," Masoud Barid, who is of Afghan descent, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. "I'm a huge FCK fan and have no relation to any of the three clubs FCK is going to play. I just want to go and support my team."

Club secretary Daniel Rommedal rejected the discrimination claims and said that they made the decision only for security reasons.

“We cancelled the tickets, when we were not sure about the affiliation of the purchase, following the episode with Hannover in the Europe League last year,” he told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. “German fans had seats among Danish FC Copenhagen fans in Parken and we are trying to prevent that from happening again. Many of our fans felt insecure back then and it is against UEFA’s rules. That is why we were fined 100,000 kroner.”

Tickets are not lost
FC Copenhagen announced that the tickets are still reserved for the original buyer. Fans who had their tickets cancelled can claim them at the ticket office if they explain that they are not fans of the away team.

“If the fans don’t feel like making that effort, we assume that they are not that interested in getting their tickets,” Rommedal said.

Ahmad brothers are model citizens
33-year-old Kashif Ahmad and his two brothers were also among the fans who had their purchases cancelled. In 2005, the Ahmad brothers made national news when they raised 1.5 million kroner in aid for the victims of the earthquake disaster in Pakistan.

They said that they are not going to let the scandal pass.

“We are going to write the equality minister, UEFA and politicians to make them distance themselves from this,” Ahmad told DR Nyheder. “We are Danish citizens with equal rights, but if it is all right to reject us from watching a football match, then I don’t want to think about what could be next for us."