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By ESPN Staff

Snow damages Schalke stadium

Heavy snowfall over the Christmas period has damaged the roof of the Arena AufSchalke.

The annual biathlon World Team Challenge, scheduled to be staged inside Schalke's stadium on Thursday, has had to be postponed due to safety issues after a 1,000 square metre hole appeared in the roof on Christmas Eve.

Schalke's first Bundesliga match of 2011 against Hamburg on January 15 should not be at risk, although the likelihood is the roof will have to remain open, irrespective of the weather conditions.

"The holes are not going to be closed in time,'' said Schalke's chairman Peter Peters on the club website. "The safety of the spectators is the utmost priority.''

With temperatures remaining below zero, repair work cannot commence until the remaining snow has melted, but Peters is confident the roof can at least be opened in time for the Hamburg fixture.

"I am optimistic that we will be able to start the second half of the season according to schedule,'' he said.

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