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-field panel expert for Sky's live coverage of Schalke's 2-1 loss to Kaiserslautern on Saturday when he was sprayed by beer during halftime. 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.''
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.