HANNOVER, Germany (CNN) — “Serious plans for explosions” forced the evacuation of a stadium in Hanover, Germany, on Tuesday night before a Netherlands-Germany friendly soccer match, the police chief for Germany’s Lower Saxony region told Germany’s public broadcaster NDR.
Chief Volker Kluwe told NDR that authorities “had concrete intelligence that someone wanted to set off an explosive device inside the stadium.” The tip from federal authorities forced the cancellation of the Netherlands-Germany match about one-and-a-half hours before game time.
“We do take this intelligence seriously. That is why we proceeded with this protocol. We did not take this decision lightly, but it was in accordance with the seriousness of the intelligence,” Kluwe said.
According to a German newspaper, an ambulance full of explosives was found near the stadium following a bomb threat. Police have not yet confirmed the report.
An announcement by police informed spectators about an hour and a half before kickoff on Tuesday that the stadium would be evacuated. Authorities asked spectators to go home and not stay outside the stadium in big crowds, Kluwe said.
“Because of the events in Paris, we were particularly sensitive and prepared for everything,” Kluwe said. “We have prepared for this kind of scenario. … We will have a heavy presence throughout the night and ensure the safety around the city.”
According to DW Sports, police said there “was a device intended to be detonated inside the stadium.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and at least three other top government officials were expected to attend the match, Merkel’s office said.
The game had not yet started when the evacuation was ordered.
The incident comes four days after three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis during a soccer match between France and Germany. The bombers died in the explosions, as did one bystander. That was one of several terror attacks across the French capital Friday night that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more.
France and England are still scheduled to play a friendly soccer match Tuesday night at London’s Wembley Stadium. Leading up to the game, London police increased their presence around the stadium and at several busy areas, such as transport hubs, across the British capital.