Sports Schwag is all fun and games until someone loses a match. Which is precisely what happened last May, 2009. During the UEFA Hamburg SV vs. Werder Bremen game fans received colorful pieces paper under their seats, meant to be held up to make a large flag.
Unfortunately, fans tend to get rather passionate about soccer, quickly turning the pieces of paper into potentially game-altering objects.
When defender Michael Gravgaard went to pass the ball to a teammate, the discarded wad of paper found it’s way into the ball’s path. The ball stood no chance against the paper wad and bounced off the ground at the last minute, smacking Gravgaard in the shin, then ricocheting out of bounds.
Werder Bremen took the game with a final score of 3-1, making their way to the next round. Ecstatic Werder Bremen fans now call the catastrophe the “paper wad of God”. According to The Local, people rooting for the losing team called it the “craziest football scene of the year,” with a much less ecstatic demeanor (check out The Local for a replay of the paper scene. In German…).
I don’t know about you, but I think stadium promotions should be kept to soft objects like stress balls or pillows. Not even seat cushions should be allowed, considering these have been used as weapons during rowdy games (the seat cushion disaster of 2005 during a Trinadad & Tobago vs. Bahrain game caused military forces to disperse the scene). It seems unruly fans and promotional objects are not always a good combination.
Ah, the joy of sports.
Posted: October 15th, 2009 under General.