World of Sport

Furious fans launch bizarre tennis ball protest

World of Sport

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Outraged FC Basel and FC Luzern fans were so angry at a change to the kick-off time for their match at the weekend that they staged a protest by throwing thousands of tennis balls on to the pitch.

A Swiss TV company had engineered the early kick-off to allow them to broadcast both the Swiss Super League match in Emmenbruecke and Roger Federer's final against Novak Djokovic at the ATP Basel tennis tournament, with the football match moved to 12.45pm to ensure that it would be finished in time for the tennis to begin at 3pm.

That prompted the fans of the two clubs - who occupy the top two spots in the Swiss top flight - to protest their treatment with a flurry of tennis balls.

And, with the pitch almost covered in them, the referee had no choice but to send the players back to the dressing rooms.

But as soon as they were cleared by stewards and security staff, the crafty fans began to rain a second wave of balls on to the pitch - forcing a further delay at the Sportanlage Gersag stadium.

When the game was finally played Basel fans were left celebrating an injury-time equaliser that saw them rescue a point to remain top of the league - while in the tennis, Federer beat Djokovic in three sets to win the title in front of his hometown crowd for the fourth time in five years.