Hannover's friendly against Premier League club Burnley was called off at halftime on police advice after major crowd trouble. The violence marks an ugly trend as fans voice dissastisfaction at a change of ownership.
Hannover 96 released a statement on Sunday in which the club said it "distanced itself" from a group of fans whose actions forced a friendly at English Premier League side Burnley one day earlier, to be abandoned at halftime.
According to Lancashire Police, a large group of Hannover's 300 or so traveling supporters attempted to breach a barrier and confront home supporters in the main stand at Turf Moor.
Two stewards and one police officer were injured in the incident and the authorities decided to abandon the game due to an "extreme risk" to the security of supporters. No arrests were made.
"We distance ourselves in the strongest possible terms from the behavior of this group of people, who have inflicted immeasurable damage on the club and also the team - the match was planned as a rehearsal before the first competitive match (of the season) next Sunday," the club said in a statement.
"Together with the British authorities, Hannover 96 will use all legal possibilities to identify and isolate potential perpetrators of violence... The small minority responsible for the abandonment of the game in Burnley do not represent the values that the overwhelming majority of our fans stand for. Violence, no matter what form it takes, has no place at Hannover 96."
Protests against Kind
Many among the Hannover fan base have been angered by the fact that longtime investor Martin Kind is set to take take majority control of the club.
The 50+1 rule that governs German football states that no single person or entity may possess more than 49 percent of the voting rights in a club's professional football division, preventing the sale of a majority stake to outside investors. This is aimed at protecting clubs from irresponsible owners and maintaining the democratic nature of German clubs.
There are a handful of exceptions, but investors are required to make a consistent major financial commitment to any given club over a period of two decades, before they can gain majority control. Kind has been a major investor and the club's chairman since 1997. Last week, the club's supervisory board voted in favor of allowing Kind to gain 51 percent control - and crucially the majority of voting rights.
Since that vote, tensions have been high between part of the fan base and the club.
Robin Krakau, spokesman for the interest group "Proverein 1896" which aims to protect the 50+1 status of the club, though, has hit back at supporters acting violently in the name of the group.
"We see no connection between the riots and protests against Martin Kind," he told Germany's DPA news agency. "Regardless, riots are not an appopriate means of protest."
Extra security measures are expected to be in place when the Hannover travel to fourth-division side Bonner SC for next Sunday's first round match in the German Cup.