Christmas has brought an unwanted present for FC Schalke after heavy snowfall damaged the roof of the Arena AufSchalke.

The damage has caused the annual biathlon World Team Challenge to be postponed due to safety issues after a 1,000 square metre hole appeared in the roof on Christmas Eve.

Schalke's first Bundesliga match of 2011 against Hamburg on January 15 should not be at risk, although it remains likely the roof will stay open, irrespective of the weather conditions.

Club chairman Peter Peters told club website: "The holes are not going to be closed in time. The safety of the spectators is the utmost priority."

As temperatures remain below zero, repair work is unable to begin until the snow has melted, but Peters is confident the Arena AufSchalke can at least be opened in time for the Hamburg fixture.

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

Posted on 28/12/2010