Munich police were ‘poised to shoot’ the Greenpeace protestor who parachuted into the Allianz Arena before France played Germany on Tuesday evening.
An activist glided into the Munich stadium moments before the behemoth nations kicked off their Euro 2020 campaigns and snipers were at the ready in fear of a terrorist attack, according to Munich police.
‘Several’ fans were sent to hospital as debris from the unnamed protestor’s apparatus rained down, and pieces also hit French manager Didier Deschamps and his assistant, Guy Stéphan, but both were unharmed.
France went on to win the match 1-0 thanks to an own goal from Germany’s Mats Hummels, but the night could’ve gone a very different way had police not spotted the Greenpeace logo on his parachute.
“The shooters had him in their sights,” revealed Munich police.
“If the police had determined that this was a terrorist attack, he would have paid with his life, but they spotted the Greenpeace logo,” Bavaria’s Interior Minister, Joachim Herrmann, stated.
The 38-year-old activist was released from custody on Wednesday but is being pursued on a number of charges, and the organisation have since apologised after the stunt almost went fatally wrong.
Greenpeace say that the protester, who bore the slogan “KICK OUT OIL!” on his parachute, planned to fly over Bayern Munich’s home ground and drop a soft ball on to the pitch in protest of German car manufacturer Volkswagen, a sponsor of the tournament.
In a statement, UEFA said: “This inconsiderate act – which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending – caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action.
“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions.
It continued: “The staging of the match was fortunately not impacted by such a reckless and dangerous action, but several people were injured nonetheless.”
A police spokesman added: “We are considering various criminal charges.
“Munich police zero tolerance for political actions that put lives at risk.”
German outlet Bild reported that at least two people were hospitalised, with one of them suffering facial fractures.
“We sincerely apologise to the two people injured and to fans and players alike,” said Greenpeace in a statement on Tuesday night.
It was an evening filled with controversy on the pitch, too, with German defender Antonio Rudiger appearing to bite opposition midfielder and ‘Star of the Match’ Paul Pogba shortly prior to half-time.
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Germany will play Portugal in Munich tomorrow as Joachim Low’s men look to get off the mark in the ‘Group of Death,’ while France travel to Budapest earlier in the day to face Hungary at a packed Puskas Arena.
Due to this year’s format, it’s possible that all three of Group F’s giants could qualify, with second place facing the winner of England’s group.