Germany-Holland match off amid security fears

German flags are carried out of the stadium after the friendly between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled in Hannover. Picture: Michael Sohn/AP
German flags are carried out of the stadium after the friendly between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled in Hannover. Picture: Michael Sohn/AP
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GERMANY’S international football friendly against the Netherlands was called off at late notice on Tuesday evening while security fears also led to the evacuation of a second venue where a music event was set to take place.

The match in Hannover was due to begin at 7.45pm GMT but a security alert saw the police step in at around 6pm to prevent it going ahead.

Dutch newspaper Telegraaf said a suspicious package was found that was later shown to be harmless.

Former Holland player Ruud Gullit wrote on Twitter: “I am now on the stadium of #hannover for the game #germany-#holland. They just suspended the game and are going to inform us why.”

Announcements at the stadium in northern Germany advised people to go home in a calm manner, and that there was no danger to fear. Most fans were still waiting outside when the order to evacuate came about an hour and a half before kick-off.

There were no signs of panic, with most fans seemingly accepting the decision with resignation.

Members of the German government including Chancellor Angela Merkel were scheduled to attend the match to send a signal that Germany wouldn’t bow to terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Security was very tight, with police armed with machine guns surrounding the stadium and maintaining a very obvious presence in the city. Reporters arriving for the game were searched, while a sniffer dog was deployed to check their bags.

There had been a bomb threat about an hour earlier outside the stadium. Streets leading to it had been sealed off before the all-clear was given.

Concertgoers had been waiting for the band Soehne Mannheims to play.

Hannover’s chief of police said authorities received a warning about a possible bomb threat shortly before the match between Germany and the Netherlands in the main Hannover stadium. The stadium was evacuated and the game was cancelled.

Police chief Volker Kluwe told German public broadcaster NDR that the alleged threat involved the “detonation of explosives in the stadium”.

He said the “key warning reached us about 15 minutes before the gates opened”.

Germany’s national football squad was taken to a “safe place” by police.

Germany had provided the opposition for France in Friday’s game which was attacked by terrorists in Paris.

Mr Kluwe encouraged people in Hannover to go home, stay away from stadiums and not move about in large groups.