Euro 2024 draw ceremony interrupted by noises in German concert hall in claimed social media prank

AP , Sunday 3 Dec 2023

Unexplained moaning noises disrupted the draw ceremony for the European Championship in men's soccer on Saturday and competed for attention with the team names being read out on stage.

2024 European Championship
This combination of pictures created on December 2, 2023 shows the groups A - F being displayed on a screen after the final draw for the UEFA Euro 2024 European Championship football competition in Hamburg, northern Germany on December 2, 2023. AFP

 

The interruption, which seemed to sound like sexual noises, was clearly heard for several minutes on the ceremony broadcast from a concert hall in Hamburg.

A British prankster claimed credit on social media for the stunt and posted footage of himself making cell phone calls to activate a ring tone in the venue which has excellent acoustics.

A later clip posted to the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, appeared to show the prankster inside the venue during a rehearsal for the hour-long Saturday evening event.

It was the latest security lapse at a high-profile event of UEFA, which declined to comment.

In July 2021, violence broke out before the final of the previous European Championship at Wembley Stadium in London. Thousands of ticketless England fans stormed through entry barriers trying to get in to see their team play Italy at a stadium where more than 20,000 empty seats were left empty because of crowd restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the 2022 Champions League final in Paris, poor organization and misjudged policing tactics at Stade de France almost caused a “mass fatality catastrophe,” investigators said, for fans of Liverpool and Real Madrid.

On Saturday, the noises started after Switzerland's name was announced and a subsequent ball to allocate the team's place in the game schedule was drawn by former Spain and Manchester City player David Silva.

The next image broadcast was of the Swiss soccer federation president, Dominique Blanc, showing him seeming bemused and looking up toward the stage.

The draw host, UEFA director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti, noted the noise had stopped in his commentary before continuing to allocate the last five places for lower-ranked teams in the 24-nation tournament lineup. However, the sound resumed sporadically until the draw was completed.

Similar noises disrupted a BBC live broadcast of an English soccer game in January between Wolverhampton and Liverpool. It turned out to be a prank use of a mobile phone next to the studio.

The BBC later apologized for any offense to viewers, though presenter Gary Lineker said that "as sabotage goes it was quite amusing.”

The internet prankster was previously banned from all sporting events in England and Wales for two years after an incident at a cricket match in 2021. He ran on to the field during a cricket test match between England and India and barged into England batter.

Euro 2024 is being played in 10 Germany cities from June 14 to July 14.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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