Germany v Netherlands friendly called off after bomb threat

Germany friendly match cancelled amid security fears

Germany's friendly with the Netherlands on Tuesday was 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.

Following the bomb threat, fans were told to return home "quickly, but without panic".

Germany's Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere told a news conference: "The match was called off on my recommendation.

"There is a high level of threat for Germany and Europe."

Belgium's friendly with Spain in Brussels, also scheduled to be played on Tuesday, was called off 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.

German FA
The German FA Tweeted soon after the cancellation

Reinhard Rauball, the German Football League president, said the cancellation of the Dutch game was a "sad day for football".

Boris Pistorius, the Interior Minister for the State of Lower Saxony, told journalists no arrests had been made and no explosives found.

Part of Hannover train station has since been closed while a suspicious object is investigated, German media have reported.

German team national spokesman Jens Grittner tweeted:external-link "The team were diverted on the way to the stadium. In a safe place. We can't say more at the moment."

The world champions had initially not wanted the game to go ahead, having been France's opponents in Paris on Friday when the wave of attacks hit the city.

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.

Jenny Hill reports from outside the stadium in Hanover

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 an earlier bomb threat 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:external-link "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."

German police officers search between the seats
German police officers searched between the seats
German police
The German team was guarded by police before travelling to the stadium
Police forces walk in front of the evacuated HDI Arena prior to the match
Police officers carry guns outside the HDI-Arena in Hannover
Press conference
Journalists wait outside the state interior ministry for a news conference

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    This match has been postponed to play at a later date.

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Tuesday 17th November 2015

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