Greenpeace disrupts Champions League match to protest sponsor Gazprom

Greenpeace activists display a banner, during the Champions League group E group stage soccer match between Switzerland's FC Basel and Germany's FC Schalke 04 at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013. Greenpeace campa
Greenpeace activists display a banner, during the Champions League group E group stage soccer match between Switzerland's FC Basel and Germany's FC Schalke 04 at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013. Greenpeace campaigners briefly interrupted a Champions League match in Basel on Tuesday to protest against sponsor and Russian energy giant Gazprom, following the detention of 30 activists over a stunt highlighting the firm's Arctic oil drilling. -- PHOTO: AP

BASEL, Switzerland (AFP) - Greenpeace campaigners briefly interrupted a Champions League match in Basel on Tuesday to protest against sponsor and Russian energy giant Gazprom, following the detention of 30 activists over a stunt highlighting the firm's Arctic oil drilling.

The match between Switzerland's Basel and Schalke of Germany was halted for about five minutes as four environmentalists clad in orange jumpsuits abseiled from the roof of the Saint Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel.

Dangling from their ropes, the four unfurled a massive yellow banner directed at the event's main sponsor, reading: "Gazprom, Don't Foul the Arctic," and "Free the Arctic 30".

The campaigners then climbed back onto the stadium's roof, allowing the match to continue.

The protest came just hours after Russian news agency Interfax reported that 30 Greenpeace activists detained in Russia would be formally charged with piracy.

The crew of Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise icebreaker was detained last month as they protested close to a Gazprom oil rig.

If found guilty, the activists could face a maximum punishment of 15 years in jail.

Schalke, whose players wear the Gazprom logo on their shirts, won the match 1-0.