Schalke players may skip remainder of season after relegation attacks, says club chief

The fan attacks on Schalke 044 continue to shake the German club after the Bundesliga side were relegated on Tuesday, with the team not having trained in two days and club officials unsure if all players will want to continue wearing the Royal Blues jersey this season.

“The fear in Buyo’s eyes will stay with me,” Schalke 04 squad manager and club legend Gerald Asamoah said on Thursday when speaking about the attack from fans against players who also went after assistant coach Mike “Buyo” Buskens.

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On Wednesday morning, hours after getting relegated from the Bundesliga in a historically bad season with a 1-0 defeat at Arminia Bielefeld, the returning Schalke team was attacked by some of their own fans at their stadium.

Nearly two hours after midnight, the team busses had pulled into the stadium and were awaited by the fans, who had asked for a dialogue after the first relegation since 1988 had finally been confirmed with four Bundesliga matches left to be played.

But instead of a conversation, the fans went wild and the situation got of control.

“I was one of the first out of the bus. I did not have any fear. I’ve known the fans for a long time and believed nothing would happen,” Asamoah told reporters.

With the police waiting at the stadium gates, the fans had several minutes to unleash their frustration. It resulted in eggs being thrown at the players, with some of them chased by the fans. They also damaged at least one car owned by a player, sources have confirmed to ESPN.

One Schalke player told ESPN on condition of anonymity that “the events were frightening for someone not expecting these levels of engagement.

“We knew there would be response, but none of us expected this,” the player said. “I can empathise with the fans and supporters and I can understand their frustration.”

He also said: “the fans mean everything and the only way the situation can be made right is to finish the season strong and fight on.”

On Wednesday, the messenger service WhatsApp was flooded by voice messages and videos on the attacks, with some of them spreading disinformation and others reinforcing information dripping through as the club shut down all official channels to recover and regroup following the events.

Local police have set up an investigative commission, according to WDR TV, but have yet to present any results.

German outlet Sportschau quoted sporting executive Peter Knabel, who left it open if all players would continue to play for the club this season.

Knabel had succeeded Jochen Schneider in that position earlier this year. Schneider had been one of many officials not making it to the end of a season, which also saw the club use five coaches for a return of 13 points from 30 games played.

Knabel said that the club will leave it open to the individual player whether they want to carry on with Schalke this season.

“I can live with every decision as long as that decision is within legal limits,” Knabel said. “We have to see how the lads are doing.”

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