It was about 7:30 pm on Tuesday, 11 April in Dortmund, a city in north eastern Germany, that the clocks came to a halt. At that moment the shadow of terrorism, once again, fell on sport.


The Borussia Dortmund bus, which was heading to the stadium where it was to play its Champions League game against AS Monaco, suffered three brutal explosions. No sooner had the first explosion occurred than the speculations followed. At first, the bus passengers thought that the blast had come from the wheels of the vehicle. A few minutes later, the German newspaper, Bild and the club itself, through social networks, reported a «serious» incident had occurred on the  team bus and stated there were injuries.


The response by the club was an example of how to handle a fast-moving and complex situation-  the ability to communicate quickly and clearly – using the necessary information. From that moment the sporting world turned its focus on Dortmund. It was feared that something even more serious could happen.


Within a few minutes of the Borussia Dortmund tweet, the German newspaper, Bild reported  Marc Bartra had been wounded in the explosion- former player in Barcelona and currently playing in the German team. The newspaper also reported that the authorities were considering cancelling the match.


Another noteworthy and exemplary response on Tuesday was that of the media who reported the events as they were happening but without panicking. Their contribution helped make a complex situation come to the best possible conclusion. They understood that information, properly and objectively managed, helps the general public understand what is happening and consequently, can help find the best solution.


At 20:30, after a meeting between both clubs and the UEFA, it was decided to postpone the game until Wednesday afternoon. Once this was agreed on, the decision to postpone it was communicated to the stadium and the Monaco fans’ reaction was exemplary. More than two thousand French fans who had travelled to Germany for the football match stood up on their seats and began to shout «Dortmund, Dortmund! They were cheering on a city and a rival team that had just suffered a terrible blow. This was the essence of sport embodied in football. Rivalry in the 90 minutes on the pitch. Fellowship, support and fraternity before and after the game.


But the fantastic response of the football clubs and fans did not end there. From the moment the match was cancelled, local fans, also encouraged by Borussia Dortmund, organized a twitter campaign – with the hashtag #bedforawayfans – to give a bed for the night to all the visiting fans in Dortmund, meaning no extra hotel expenses and ensuring that the fans avoided travelling, which was  a request made by the police for reasons of security.


The fans were a shining example in a terrible situation. They showed that football is not about insults, fights, disrespect or aggression. Football, and sport in general, is about passion, struggle, respect, education, and a whole host of values that were evident in that awful situation last Tuesday afternoon in the lead up to the Borussia Dortmund- Monaco match.  This is real football. This is what inspires millions of people  all over the world.

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