UEFA has charged FC Basel with “inadequate organisation” after their Champions League tie at home to Schalke was interrupted by a Greenpeace protest against competition sponsors Gazprom.
Activists descended from the roof at St. Jakob-Park shortly after kick-off and unveiled a banner protesting the Russian-owned company -- the largest extractor of natural gas in the world -- which also sponsors Schalke. The banner read: "Gazprom, don't foul the Arctic."
It is reported that the activists likely accessed the stadium roof through an adjacent apartment building.
A Greenpeace statement explaining the incident read: "With this action, the defenders of the Arctic showed the red card to the Russian sponsors of the Champions League and German club, and to their oil-drilling and dirty tricks in the Arctic.”
Schalke general manager Horst Heldt said he understood the protest, which briefly held up his side’s 1-0 victory, but the Swiss champions now face the prospect of disciplinary action for failing to prevent it. Basel president Bernhard Heusler told the media on Wednesday that it was unfair that the game had been abused as a vehicle for political protest and he felt his club were victims.
Stadium operator Basel United has filed criminal charges against 17 people accused of participating in the incident for trespassing.