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'We didn't do anything illegal!' - Spy games: German club admit to spying on rivals using drones

'We didn't do anything illegal!' - Spy games: German club admit to spying on rivals using drones
German football was stunned at the news that Werder Bremen one of the biggest clubs in the Bundesliga spied on training sessions of rivals Hoffenheim by using drones piloted by club officials.

Hoffenheim first raised the alarm when a drone was spotted hovering over their final training session ahead of their December 19 Bundesliga clash with Werder Bremen.

It was later revealed that the drone's suspected pilot had been located and identified, with matters turned over to the local police.

And remarkably, Werder Bremen has issued a statement taking responsibility for the incident, admitting it was they who arranged for the drone to conduct surveillance of Hoffenheim's training session.

An official statement was released, explaining that the drone was piloted by a member of club staff, while the club's general manager Frank Bauman made a formal apology and took full responsibility for the incident.

"Werder Bremen briefly brought a drone into action last Tuesday during TSG Hoffenheim's training," it read.

"This is the result of a conversation between Werder CEO Baumann, head coach [Florian] Kohfeldt and employees of the analysis department."

Baumann separately commented on the incident, saying: "We've discussed this internally, and I accept responsibility for it. If those events at Hoffenheim led to a certain insecurity on the training pitch, I would like to apologise for it."

Flying drones over populated areas is illegal in many countries, including Germany, though Baumann stated that the drone was not flown directly over the training pitch and therefore was causing no threat to the safety of the Hoffenheim players.

"A drone was flown for a short period, but didn't fly over the pitch their team was training on," he said.

"There was no threat. Everything has been resolved with Hoffenheim. We have done nothing illegal. That would go against our club principles. We apologize to Hoffenheim if the incident has unnerved them. This is all we have to say on the matter."

The match itself finished in a 1-1 draw, with Bremen's Theodor Gebre Selassie netting a 57th-minute equalizer to wipe out Leonardo Bittencourt's first-half strike.

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