Remote control cars with smoke bombs halt match

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A steward picking up one of the remote control cars with a white smoke bomb attached
Two stewards kicked the cars off the pitch before removing them from the stadium

The German Bundesliga 2 match between Hansa Rostock and Hamburg was interrupted on Saturday by remote control cars carrying smoke bombs.

Two cars entered the pitch after 10 minutes, emitting blue and white smoke.

After a brief delay, stewards kicked the cars into touch before removing them so the game could restart.

There have been similar scenes across Germany in protest against a proposed deal to sell a stake in Bundesliga rights to a private equity investor.

Four of Saturday’s five Bundesliga matches were interrupted by protests, with fans throwing chocolate coins and marbles on to the pitch.

The protests are in response to a plan from the DFL, the group of German clubs which organises the Bundesliga, to sell an 8% share of future TV rights in exchange for capital injection to help market and promote the league across the world.

The proposal was approved by a two-thirds majority of German clubs in December, although supporter groups have called for another ballot.

Borussia Dortmund manager Edin Terzic said he wants a “quick and sensible solution” after Saturday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw at Wolfsburg was repeatedly stopped when tennis balls were thrown on to the pitch.

“We are all here to watch the sport and to fight for points and goals. Unfortunately, that didn’t take place over 90 minutes today, but for an extremely long time with lots of interruptions,” he said.

“The game continued even though it felt like there were 50 stewards on the pitch. There were a lot of balls.

“As a result, it was sometimes very dangerous. You have to say that we’re glad that nothing more serious happened today.”

Dortmund captain Emre Can said: “We suffer a lot from it. It’s not easy; you lose your rhythm.

“At some point, it’s enough. I hope it will end soon.”

Goalkeeper Gregor Kobel said: “Everyone had the right to stand up for something.

“I just have to be careful when marbles and rubber balls are thrown in my penalty area. It’s a big disruption for me.”

On Friday the match between Cologne and Werder Bremen was halted for about 10 minutes when fans threw tennis balls and drove remote control cars on to the pitch.

Hamburg’s Bundesliga 2 match with Hannover last week was delayed when a fan attached a bicycle lock to a goal post, with staff needing a power saw to remove it.

Private investment group Blackstone pulled out of talks with the league last week, leaving CVC Capital Partners as the only prospective buyer.

A steward kicking one of the cars off the pitch
Blue and white smoke filled one of the penalty areas as stewards chased the cars down
Remote control cars and tennis balls on the pitch at the Cologne-Werder Bremen game
Remote control cars and tennis balls halted Cologne’s match against Werder Bremen on Friday
A bicycle lock being removed from a goal post by a power saw
Staff needed a power saw to remove a bicycle lock that was attached to a goal post by a fan during Hamburg’s match with Hannover this month

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