Schalke launches investigation into Merk abuse

Schalke has launched an investigation to find fans who threw

objects at former referee Markus Merk during a Bundesliga game.

Merk was an on-pitch panel expert for Sky’s live coverage of

Schalke’s 2-1 loss to Kaiserslautern on Saturday when he was

sprayed by beer during the halftime break. Lighters and other

objects were also thrown in his direction before and after the

game.

Schalke condemned the abuse, saying on its website Sunday that

while fans have a right to freely express their opinions ”this

right does not allow the throwing of objects toward the

pitch.”

The club said those responsible would be sanctioned.

Gelsenkirchen police spokesman Konrad Kordts told the Sunday

edition of the Bild newspaper that three individuals would be

”arrested shortly. They will be charged with attempted aggravated

assault.”

Bild reported that a snooker ball was among the items

thrown.

Merk has been unpopular with Schalke fans since the last game of

the season in 2001, when Bayern Munich scored from a free kick he

awarded in injury time against Hamburg to snatch the title from

their side.