Schickeria München, Bayern's largest Ultras group, has approached us, FC Bayern WorldWide, asking for help in spreading a personal message to all international Bayern fans, fan clubs and fan groups. The following letter was written by the members of Schickeria München and is addressed to you all. We would greatly appreciate you sharing and passing it on to as many international Bayern fans as possible.
ONLY TOGETHER WILL WE BE ABLE TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE! FOREVER SÜDKURVE!
OPEN LETTER TO ALL FC BAYERN FAN CLUBS.
While the past season provided us triple glory and fantastic performances on part of the Südkurve both in stadia throughout Germany and Europe, the conflict regarding the entrances to the Südkurve in Munich's stadium and a rupture between various sets of Bayern fans have somewhat overshadowed the past season. Undoubtedly, it would have been possible to prevent quarreling among one another through improved and more respectful communication and undoubtedly we have to accept a portion of responsibility. Both we as a group and individual members of ours made mistakes. However, the manner in which some individuals and factions behaved towards us was just as unacceptable. Respect is not a one-way-street. Respect involves the awareness that there are plenty of different ways to be a fan of FC Bayern. Everyone form of fandom is great. The young fans in the Südkurve, Ultras, fanclub members, season ticket holders and grand stand spectators. What brings us together is Bayern Munich.
Naturally, there are plenty of contrasting opinions in a support base as large and as diverse as ours. It is something we should embrace, but it is also important that we listen to and respect one another's arguments. In the past, this unfortunately did not work too well and for this reason we want to take a step towards you, FC Bayern's fan clubs, to explain our point of view on things and to establish a lasting dialogue. With the current conditions we are all facing our only chance is to work together. This is our attempt to approach you all openly, honestly and directly.
We're not approaching you in order to cast ourselves in a better light, nor do we want to justify our ourselves. We want to express our side of the story but are aware that some people may have a different outlook. Perhaps though, some outlooks are based on false information and interpretations. That's why we want to explain our standpoint. Listen to what we have to say and draw your own conclusions. Undoubtedly, many will continue to have a different opinions. But, as mentioned previously, it is important to accept the different points of view. This is ours:
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE WANT:
Many of you will know the answers to these two questions already. However, others perhaps don't. The "Schickeria München" is one of multiple, but surely the largest Ultras-group in the Südkurve. We've been around for more than 10 years (some individual members have been for much longer) and the main aim of our group is to support FC Bayern to the best of our ability. That's basically the core of what we understand "Ultras" are about. The ultra-movement was established and developed in Italy in the second half of the last century, but unfortunately the media have portrayed it in a very one-dimensional way over the past few years. Using flags, drums and megaphones we co-ordinate support for our team in the fan block. We're not always the most well-behaved, but we're definitely not as bad as some think. With all the mistakes we've made in the past, we've always had the heart in the right spot and from the first second we were always on tour with (and for) FC Bayern, no matter where they played. Because our major focus is to support our club as loudly and as creatively as possible. At the same time, we want to stand up for our interests, as well as the interests of other Bayern fans. For example, the permission to to take drums, flags and megaphones into the supporters sector. Unfortunately, that cannot be taken for granted. Bayern fans especially face a large amount of bans from the club when it comes to these fan utensils, which are necessary for us to create a vibrant atmosphere. Together with other fan clubs, fan groups and organizations like Club Nr.12, we try to defend our interests. In order to do so and in order to improve the dialogue between fans in the Südkurve, the Südkurven-Council was established last year.
WHAT IS THE SÜDKURVEN-COUNCIL?
In the Südkurven-Council, the dialogue between different groups and fan clubs in the Südkurve is fostered and developed and joint decisions regarding the Südkurve are made. Every fan club and group with at least 10 members who stand in the Südkurve regularly, may join. We meet approximately once every two months, usually after home games. Fans young and old, ultras and non-ultras are part of the Südkurvenrat and therefore various ideologies are represented. The Südkurven-Council is always open for new representatives who fulfill the mentioned criteria and who are willing to join in the efforts to improve the Südkurve ("keep alive" is perhaps the better phrase).
THEY THINK THEY'RE THE BETTER FANS
We definitely want to see the end of this misunderstanding, as we most certainly do not feel we are the better fans. Perhaps this impressions is created, because we spend more time and effort to implement our vision than others (understandably) can. We don't do the things we do, because we want to please others, but because we believe in them. We have ideas, develop them further, live by them and advertise them. It's perfectly normal that those who are most involved also have the greatest influence. It's like that everywhere. But as we can see in the current situation, we should have started much earlier in openly discussing our concepts. We want to start that now - better late than never. The misinterpretation that we feel we're the better fans may also have been strengthened by the one or two actions that were not fully thought through. We make mistakes and we stand by them. We will work towards preventing their repitition.
SCHICKERIA AND CLUB NR.12: ISN'T THAT THE SAME THING?
Many think Club Nr.12 and Schickeria are one and the same thing, however this is incorrect. Many Schickeria members are also Club Nr. 12 members. There are also Club Nr.12 members who neither are Schickeria members, nor share our interests and aims. Other Club Nr.12 members even disagree with our standpoints. Club Nr. 12 has 2500 members coming from a huge spectrum of fan clubs and groups. Some young, others old, with different backgrounds and varying levels of organization and engagement. The smallest portion call themselves ultras. Club Nr. 12 was founded to create great choreographies in stadia and to organise big projects like parties and celebrations for all Bayern fans, chartered airplanes to European games and rented trains to matches in Germany. They also represent the interests of the active Bayern fans. The Schickeria supports Club Nr.12's efforts.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE ENTRANCE TO THE SÜDKURVE?
In order to understand the problem, are certain amount of background information is required. Blocks 112 and 113 in the middle of the Südkurve are the only terraced standing area sectors in the whole stadium - that's 1800 places. This is where the fans who sing, support and wave flags throughout the 90 minutes of the game congregate. This is where the atmosphere is initiated, which ideally is transferred to the rest of the crowd. People know each other and over the years certain structures, which are important for a good atmosphere, have developed. Especially young fans have a high affinity to this part of the stadium. They haven't witnessed as many moments of glory as the older fans and their main priority is to support their team, FC Bayern, fanatically. However, the largest portion of tickets for this area happens to be season tickets. All season tickets have been in the same hands for years and their owners would be silly to give up the little plastic card that gives them access the most attractive area of the whole stadium. For the younger fans this unfortunately means that they have to come to terms with a much smaller quantity of tickets for the terraced sector. A portion of those go towards the "U21-Ticket-Programme". Another portion of those tickets go to fan clubs and groups in the "Arbeitskreis Fandialog".
Unfortunately, a lot of those tickets do not reach the active fans and the latter resort to smuggling themselves into the Südkurve. The absolute majority of those who "smuggle" themselves into sector 112/113 is made up of people who support the team loudly throughout the all matches. These fans are essential for a good atmosphere in the Südkurve. For about two years, these "smugglers" have been made a huge topic. However, even with the large amount of regular "smugglers" in sector 112/113, the amount of people in the Südkurve is nowhere near to the maximum capacity that is defined by law, because less tickets are sold by the club than legally allowed. In these two years, there have been a lot of meetings with the "Arbeitskreis Fandialog", many discussions and many suggestions and efforts by the fans to find an adequate solution for all. We've written a few statements about the process of the past two years, which you can find on the website of the Südkurve, http://www.suedkurve-muenchen.org/. Unfortunately, the club management has made a "We've had enough"-decision, which frustrates us all. The outcome of the story is that further security checks in the form of ticket scanners were installed at the entrance of the Südkurve during the summer break. Now only fans with tickets for exactly those blocks have permission to enter the Südkurve. Many of those responsible for creating the atmosphere can no longer enter the Südkurve.
Everywhere in the world supporters sectors come alive by support-minded people standing together. Structures develop, self-regulation kicks in and a core of active supporters naturally comes into existence. We're going to attempt a comparison: Some of you may have attended Oktoberfest in Munich. Imagine a beer tent in which only 6 people per table are allowed to enter and each person has to sit at an allotted table, resulting in six strangers sitting next each other. Some of them want to eat their Hendl (chicken) and the others want to dance on the tables. Both groups of people play an important role at the Octoberfest. Those who go to enjoy the atmosphere, eat a Hendl and sit comfortably together, as well as those who prefer the tables right next to the band, which usually turn into an alternative dance floor. In a beer tent things regulate themselves automatically in manner that every person find the right place for himself. Of course, we can't transfer this example 1:1 to a football stadium. But it goes to show that neither does everything in a stadium need to be planned to the smallest detail, nor that everything needs to be controlled. Because that destroys fan culture.
INVITATION TO DISCUSSION
We would like to cordially invite you and your fan club members to share your opinions on the problem and give us ideas on how to continue. We expect factual and constructive arguments, because we also trying to be factual and constructive. Inform your fan club members and get in touch with us by e-mail! You can reach us at info(at)schickeria-muenchen.org.
Those of you regularly attending Bayern's games also have the opportunity to discuss with us personally after the Nürnberg match this coming Saturday. The discussion will commence at 18:00 and we will inform you about the whereabouts of the meeting after you've sent us an e-mail to info(at)schickeria-muenchen.org your registrating your interest to participate.
We look forward to seeing or hearing from you, your opinions, criticisms, solution ideas, questions and generally we can't wait for a constructive discussion!
We can only do it together. It'll only work with respect for one another.
SCHICKERIA MÜNCHEN from the SÜDKURVE MÜNCHEN.
More information and statements from us about this topic and other issues, photos and more information on the Südkurve: http://www.suedkurve-muenchen.org/
Receive the Südkurvenbladdl, the Schickeria newsletter by e-mail: http://www.suedkurvenbladdl.org/
The website of Club Nr. 12: http://www.clubnr12.org/