Dutch team back in Netherlands after Hanover terror threat

November 19, 2015 11:37 am 

THE HAGUE, Nov. 18 — The soccer squad of the Netherlands arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport around midnight of Tuesday after the team had left Hanover, where the friendly international against Germany was cancelled due to a terror threat.

The squad was on its way to the stadium when the match, scheduled for 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday in the HDI-Arena in Hanover, was cancelled due to security reasons, with German authorities getting signals of a serious terror threat.

The Dutch team returned to its hotel immediately and traveled, escorted by the police, from the hotel to the airport, where it flew back to the Netherlands at around 11 p.m. Strikers Bas Dost (VfL Wolfsburg) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04) did not join the Dutch team on their way back. They waited for representatives from their respective German clubs to pick them up from the hotel.

The Dutch football association KNVB was shocked by the cancellation of the match. "We wanted to play this match," the KNVB stated on its website. "Because the situation was safe until the beginning of the evening. After the German authorities took action due to a serious threat we also took our responsibility."

"Our people had to be brought in safe haven as quickly as possible and that's what happened," KNVB director of professional football Bert van Oostveen said. "It is very sad that as a result of the Paris attacks and previous terrorist attacks we should be as alert as is the case now."

Last Friday Germany played France in the Stade de France in Paris, a match which was overshadowed by the attacks. Despite this experience the German and Dutch coaches Joachim Low and Danny Blind expressed the aim to play Tuesday's match in Hanover, also to make a statement that soccer will not bend for terror.

Dutch Minister Edith Schippers of Health, Welfare and Sport and Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis followed the example of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her entire team of ministers to attend the match. The Dutch ministers were already in the stadium, but also had to leave the stadium for security reasons.

"After the attacks in Paris this match is more than just a friendly match," Schippers had said before the match, explaining her presence. "We will show that we continue with our free way of life."

"We did not want to bend for terror," KNVB director Van Oostveen added. "We wanted to make a statement against terror and for freedom. Unfortunately, that did not work out. We wanted to play, but if the authorities cannot guarantee security we have no other choice." (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/SSC

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