If there's one person you would expect to be sceptical of pyro, it's a minister of interior. But it's exactly his announcement in favour of legal flares that sparked new heated discussion in Germany.
It began on Wednesday, when interior minister of Lower Saxony Boris Pistorius announced he is officially in favour of limited legalisation of pyrotechnics inside stadiums across the central-German land.
His proposal raised quite a few eyebrows as up until June he was strictly against such solutions. It didn't change entirely, he still perceives flares as dangerous. Except now he sees that supporters will smuggle them inside anyway, so it's more sensible to regulate this area of stadium safety. Among his ideas is a register of people responsible for lighting flares in a safe manner.
The proposal saw some enthusiastic reactions but also faced serious backlash. The largest club in Lower Saxony, Hannover 96, expressed caution, though it should be noticed its owner is in conflict with some fans. The labour union of police officers launched an aggressive attack, one that is very poorly argumented and full of stereotypes, seeing fans overall as dangerous criminals unworthy of any dialogue. Several interior ministers of other regions in Germany also went against legalisation.
In such climate it's hard to imagine a positive outcome for supporters of legal pyrotechnics. However, several high-profile meetings are planned in the near future to discuss this subject.
No more collective punishment
While legalisation seems quite a distant idea nowadays. German clubs and fans have some solid good news already. DFB and DFL announced clubs and supporters will no longer see stadiums or sections closed as a form of collective punishment. This temporary solution is part of the governing bodies' effort to launch engage in constructive dialogue with fans.