Bundesliga stars want end to chocolate coins, marble protests

AFP , Saturday 17 Feb 2024

Bundesliga stars on Saturday called for fans to stop throwing chocolate coins and marbles onto pitches in protest over a controversial investment deal in the German league.

chocolate coins
Member of staff collects chocolate coins thrown on to the pitch by fans protesting against the DFL (German Football Association) during the German first division Bundesliga football match between BVB Borussia Dortmund and SC Freiburg in Dortmund, western Germany on February 9, 2024. AFP

 

Four of five matches played on Saturday afternoon were interrupted, with several delayed by close to half an hour.

"At some point, it's enough," said Borussia Dortmund captain Emre Can.

Dozens of matches have recently been delayed as spectators have lobbed tennis balls, chocolate coins and even marbles onto the playing surface.

Referees have even threatened to abandon games.

The protests are in response to a plan from the DFL, the association of German clubs which organises the Bundesliga, to sell off an eight percent share of future TV rights in exchange for capital injection to help market and promote the league internationally.

Speaking to reporters after a 1-1 draw at Wolfsburg in another heavily-delayed match, Can said the protests were taking their toll.

"We suffer a lot from it. It's not easy, you lose your rhythm," Can said. "At some point, it's enough. I hope it will end soon."

Dortmund manager Edin Terzic said "it would be too simple" to blame his side's result on the interruptions, but said "it doesn't help."

During the match, fans also threw tennis balls from the terraces.

Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel said "everyone had the right to stand up for something" but warned of the danger to players.

"I just have to be careful when marbles and rubber balls are thrown in my penalty area," he said.

"You have to be careful with the marbles. It's a big disruption for me."

Dortmund striker Niclas Fuellkrug, who scored his side's only goal, told reporters "as a player, it's really difficult because of these constant interruptions."

"A solution needs to be found as soon as possible because it can't continue."

DFL managing director Steffen Merkel said the protests were in danger of going too far.

"It's OK if we are reminded, week after week, in a peaceful and proportional way," Merkel told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

"But if you talk about games being cancelled, we and the clubs cannot accept that."

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

Short link: