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Remote control cars with flares invade pitch during match in Germany

Remote control cars carrying flares drove on the pitch  (Twitter / @collinabanter)
Remote control cars carrying flares drove on the pitch (Twitter / @collinabanter)

Remote control cars carrying flares invaded the pitch during a German second-tier football match as fan protests continue around external investment into the league.

Around the 10-minute mark of the 2. Bundesliga match between Hansa Rostock and Hamburg SV, play was stopped when several remote control cars with blue and white flares on the back of them, being driven by Hansa supporters, came onto the pitch.

Security staff rushed to kick the vehicles off the field as fans jeered and whistled but play was able to continue shortly afterwards.

The match eventually ended 2-2 as Robert Glatzel grabbed an 86th-minute equaliser for promotion-chasing Hamburg to deny relegation-threatened Rostock a vital three points.

The stunt was the latest in a series of protests by German football fans at plans by the DFL – the association of German clubs which organises the Bundesliga – to sell off an eight per cent share of future TV rights in exchange for capital injection to help market and promote the league internationally.

Germany’s first and second-tier football clubs voted in December to allow an investor to take a stake in the media rights firm – with the motion passing by a single vote, much to the chagrin of fans – as leagues in Europe increasingly consider broadcasting arrangements as a way to boost revenue and increase their global reach.

The DFL has said it aims to conclude an agreement worth between 900m and 1bn euros by the end of March, before it awards media rights for the German market for 2025-2029.

Gold coins have been thrown on the pitch in protest at other German league matches (Getty Images)
Gold coins have been thrown on the pitch in protest at other German league matches (Getty Images)

During a Bundesliga match between Borussia Monchengladbach and Werder Bremen shortly after the December vote, Gladbach fans threw chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil onto the field after the end of a 12-minute silent protest, causing the match to be stopped for five minutes as stadium staff, aided by the officials, cleared the pitch.

Most other matches in the top two tiers this weekend have been disrupted by supporters throwing tennis balls onto the pitch, while Kristina Schroeder, from fan organisation Unsere Kurve recently said: “As long as the status quo is not reviewed, with a new and more transparent vote, there is no reason to stop protesting.”