USA's Steve Cherundolo, Hannover coach, speaks on HDI Arena threat
Former United States international and current Hannover 96 assistant coach Steve Cherundolo is out of town for a coaching course amid serious security threats to the city of Hannover surrounding the canceled friendly between Germany and the Netherlands on Tuesday. However, he said he has spoken to people in Hannover, where the situation is tense but apparently under control.
“At the moment, everybody’s just sort of nervous and insecure about the situation, mostly due to the fact that there hasn’t been much information released,” Cherundolo told SI.com in a phone interview on Tuesday. “I think when the situation becomes clear or the authorities release a little more information, then it’s maybe easier to accept or analyze the situation.”
The police and other authorities took swift action to evacuate the 43,000-capacity HDI Arena, and Cherundolo said they “always have” proven themselves competent.
“That’s one of the positive things about it: I think the authorities are excellent and took the necessary precautions and were able to stop something, if something was planned,” he said. “We’re only speculating, but I’m sure in the next few days, we’ll get more information.”
So far, reports are sparse.
However, a “suspicious object” was certainly discovered at the stadium, prompting the city’s police chief to tell Sky Sports, “There is a serious threat to the city.” Politicians including German chancellor Angela Merkel and other cabinet members were expected to attend the canceled match.
The match, and those politicians’ potential presence, seemed to be the only plausible draw for the threats. The city of just over half a million is the country’s 13th largest, but it doesn’t hold the same height of worldwide status as Munich or the capital of Berlin.
“I don’t think it’s the city of Hannover that is attracting these threats,” said Cherundolo, who played at Hannover 96 for 15 years prior to becoming a coach for the club. “The talk before the game was, life needs to go on as planned. I think that was too good of an opportunity for these sick people to try to create some sort of panic, or even worse, go through with a plan.”