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Snow tears through roof of Schalke's stadium after heavy snowfall

Schalke's Veltins Arena is sporting a large hole after heavy snowfall damaged the roof.
Schalke's Veltins Arena is sporting a large hole after heavy snowfall damaged the roof.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Heavy snow causes part of the roof at Schalke's Veltins Arena to collapse
  • A yearly biathlon, the World Team Challenge, scheduled for this week has been cancelled
  • Schalke's next home game with Hamburg on January 15 not thought to be in danger

(CNN) -- Heavy snowfall in Germany has caused part of the roof to collapse at the Veltins Arena, which hosts Bundesliga soccer team Schalke 04.

The stadium, in Gelsenkirchen, stages all Schalke's home games and was also due to hold the annual biathlon World Team Challenge later this week.

But the event has been cancelled after a deluge of snow over Christmas created a hole measuring 1,000 square meters in the roof. Three fibre glass strips that hold the roof in place were destroyed.

"The holes are not going to be closed in time,'' Schalke's chairman Peter Peters said of the biathlon on the club's official website. "The safety of the spectators is the utmost priority.''

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The Bundesliga is currently on its winter break, with Schalke not scheduled to play at the Veltins Arena until the January 15 clash with Hamburg.

But that match is not thought to be in danger, as it can be played with the roof open.

"I am optimistic that we will be able to start the second half of the season according to schedule," Peters said.

Staff had cleared an earlier downfall prior to Christmas but were unable to get onto the roof after that due to harsh weather conditions.

The stadium was opened in 2001 and can hold 61,482 spectators. It played host to the 2004 UEFA Champions League final and staged five games in the 2006 World Cup.