Germany’s friendly with the Netherlands on Tuesday has been called off because of an “intention to ignite explosives” at the Hannover stadium. Evacuation began less than two hours before kick-off after a “concrete security threat”, said the city’s president of police Volker Kluwe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to attend the match at the 49,000-capacity HDI Arena. The German national team’s players were put under police protection. Fans were told to return home “quickly, but without panic”.
Belgium’s friendly with Spain on Tuesday in Brussels was called of on Monday because of security fears in the wake of last week’s attacks in Paris. England’s match against France at Wembley on Tuesday night went ahead, with tributes paid to the 129 people killed in Paris on Friday.
The contingent of 80 Germans, including players, coaches and staff, then spent the night in the changing rooms of the Stade de France stadium, before leaving for the airport on Saturday morning. Associated Press sports reporter in Germany Ciaran Fahey, tweeted about the security measures around the ground
But the players, coaches and national football association decided to proceed with the game in a show of unity with the French. The Associated Press agency reported there had been a bomb threat about an hour earlier outside the stadium, with streets leading to the ground being sealed off before the all-clear was given.
Hannover’s mayor Stefan Schostok told German newspaper Bild:“Safety is paramount. This is a fear you will always have. “I trust the police have made the right decision. If a threat situation exists, then those steps must be taken.”