Swiss Fans Got Balls

Hal LaRoux
By Hal LaRoux
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Angry at the forced change of the kick off time to facilitate a tennis match, fans of Basel and Luzem protested by halting proceedings with tennis balls.

The backstory: On Sunday, the two best teams in the Swiss Super League, FC Basel and FC Luzern, were set to play for the top spot in the standings. But because the soccer match was set to overlap with the finals of the ATP event in Basel, between hometown hero Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, television executives moved up the start of the game to 12:45 p.m.. This would allow the soccer match to finish well before Fed and Nole took the court.

Unfortunately, this rational decision didn't go over well with soccer fans, who creatively lodged a protest before the match began: The referee had to clear the players from the field so the balls could be removed. One every ball was clean up, fans did it again. (Did nobody notice fans walking into the stadium with dozens of tennis balls in their pockets?)

This isn't the first time soccer fans have thrown tennis balls on the field. In 2000, fans of Hull City in England did the same thing in protest of the purchase of the team by former tennis player David Lloyd.

It all worked out in the end for fans of Basel and Federer. A late equalizer ensured FC Basel remained in first place and Federer defeated Djokovic in three sets to win his native event. A sign read 'You name the kick off time - we decide the kick off time'



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