Football

Basel fan takes 11 years to return home from away match

Eleven years ago, Basel fan Rolf Bantle went to Italy to watch his team play Inter Milan in a Champions League qualifier.

It was a double loss, with Basel losing 4-1 and Bantle losing his way in the stadium at the end of the match.

He got separated from his travelling party and didn’t have enough money to return home.

Five minutes before the end, Bantle left the group of people he had made the trip with on an organised journey to go to the toilet.

When he came out, he could not find his way back to his friends as the stadium began to empty and fans streamed out of the San Siro.

"I suddenly found myself in a different sector," Bantle told the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper.

He tried to look for his friends and their car, but to no avail.

He had only 20 euros and 15 Swiss Francs on him - hardly enough to get him home, but enough to survive for a few days in Milan.

A few days became weeks, and stretched into months, which extended into years.

Before he knew it, he had spent 11 years living on the streets in the Baggio area of the city.

"The whole of Baggio soon started calling me Rudi," he said. "It soon became clear to me there was no point in coming home."

A missing person's notice was issued back in Basel, but that was closed again on 2011 with still no sign of Bantle in his home country.

Only when he slipped and fell earlier this year, breaking his ankle, did he show up on any form of registry, as he had no health insurance.

 

Contact was made with the Swiss authorities, who paid for him to be taken back to a hospital in Basel.

From there, he now lives in an old folks' home.

"Ten years are enough, and I'm looked after well here," said Bantle, who now finally lives indoors again and has 100 Swiss Francs a month to spend as he pleases.

"I buy myself a couple of cans of beer each day -- I'm allowed that much."

Sources: ESPN, Schweiz am Sonntag

 

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