#bedforawayfans initiative shows why terror will never win

Images of opposition football fans standing in unity will be the overriding memory from last night.

Pictures of the stricken Dortmund team bus, with shattered windows and scores of police officers trying to quell the panic were just a side issue; that temporary chaos should and not be the focus of Tuesday’s night’s latest assault on humanity.

When three explosive devices were detonated near the Borussia Dortmund team bus ahead of the night’s Champions League clash with Monaco, the perpetrators aim was to cause carnage, injure and maim innocent citizens. Fortunately only one person was injured – Dortmund player Marc Bartra who suffered a broken wrist – but the abiding memory will be of how the football world closed ranks to condemn another thoughtless act of violence.

Attacking soft targets appears to be a common theme throughout the world, with so-called Islamic terror groups aiming to cause as much destruction and loss of life as possible with the apparent goal to split and divide communities and to stop people travelling and experiencing other cultures.

As per the famous quote by Benjamin Disraeli: “Travel teaches toleration.”

And on Wednesday all efforts to deny travel and thus halt toleration failed. In Dortmund the latest was not successful and future demonic efforts to attack ‘life’ will continue to fail too.

One person on Twitter encapsulated the mood.

The images and videos of Monaco fans singing and showing their solidarity for their Champions League opponents Dortmund won  – it was a beautiful sight. Within the hour the German hosts had started the ‘bedforawayfans’ initiative which enabled any stranded French fans the opportunity to stay at the houses of their hosts.

It consequently went viral with hundreds of Monaco fans from all backgrounds, who suddenly needed an extra night’s accommodation, sharing pictures and video on social media displaying of their togetherness.

Monaco later offered an allowance of 80 euros for every fan stuck in Germany, but with such generosity from Dortmund fans it was unlikely the club’s offer was taken up by many.

Germany defender Benedikt Howedes, captain of Dortmund’s fierce rivals Schalke, wrote: “Football unites. What a great initiative! #bedforawayfans”

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke urged his players to show their club does not bend to “terror and hatred”.

Watzke said in a statement on the club website: “The BVB family was always especially strong when it had to cope with difficult situations. This is perhaps the most difficult situation that we have faced in the past decades. I am sure that we will show ourselves as a strong and united BVB like never before.

“We do not just play for us today. We play for everyone – no matter whether Borussia, Bayer or Schalke supporters. We want to show that terror and hatred can never dictate our actions. And of course we play for Marc Bartra, who wants to see his team win.

“We ask all BVB fans to support our team today with total energy for 90 minutes. This team had to process the incomprehensible in a short space of time. We should all help you to come to terms with it.

“I just appealed to the team in the changing room to show society that we do not bend before terror.”

Watzke summed up the feelings of the majority as football showed the world that there will only be one winner in the fight against terror.

Matthew Briggs

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