West Ham United are investigating an incident in which two German commentators were allegedly attacked inside the London stadium during the first leg of the team’s Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.
Tim Brockmeier and Philipp Hofmeister, who work for German broadcaster Hessischer Runfunk, said their headphones were ripped off and they were physically assaulted by West Ham fans after Michail Antonio tied for the hosts in the first. time.
The pair said West Ham fans were seated directly behind them and were annoyed by their loud applause as Frankfurt took the lead in the first minute of the match.
The incident was captured during the live broadcast.
“We were attacked from behind by the English fans, which is why we were sadly away for a short time,” said Hofmeister during the broadcast.
“So we get attacked from behind. And our colleague Tim just had his headset thrown on the floor, so we really need to be a little careful about what we do here. ”
West Ham told CNN it had identified two culprits and continued the investigation.
“In line with our zero tolerance approach, the details of the offenders have also been passed on to the police, who will now conduct their own investigations,” a West Ham spokesman said.
“If offenders are found guilty, they will be given an indefinite ban and will not be allowed to enter the London stadium or travel with the Club. Conduct of this kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at West Ham United.” .
CNN has contacted the London Metropolitan Police but has not yet received a response.
The commentators then thanked members of the West Ham media department who moved them to a new spot at the interval.
“First of all, I’m sorry for all of you who might be used to a different performance than us,” Brockmeier added during the show, after they were moved.
We were hoping to succeed in the first half, but if you constantly have the feeling that something could come from behind, a punch or some other blow or maybe something worse, then you are not free and you cannot concentrate on the game. ”
Hofmeister later tweeted Thursday night: “We are doing well. Best wishes to all West Ham fans who love football and respect their opponents. ”
Gabriele Holzner, program director of Hessischer Rundfunk, also condemned the attack on his journalists.
“A football stadium is not a lawless space,” Holzner said in a statement on CNN.
We expect the organizing club to ensure a safe environment for all journalists, including those on the visiting team, so that they can carry out their work without fear of aggression.
“Punching and physical violence are not tolerable under any circumstances.”
Eintracht Frankfurt told CNN that the attack was “completely unacceptable, even under emotional circumstances”.
A club spokesperson added: “The incidents required a thorough analysis, which will be carried out by the host club West Ham United. This has been assured by the club ”.
West Ham ultimately lost the first leg 2-1, with the return match set for 5 May in Germany.