Dutch police labor union NPB believes the Netherlands is “very close” to reaching a point where away fans should be banned from all Dutch football matches. “The limit is in sight,” said union chair Jan Struijs in an interview with AD on Saturday.
“The police are under serious pressure and have to make choices,” said Struijs. He acknowledged that unions have already urged mayors to implement this measure several times.
“Now that the end of the season is approaching, you notice that tensions are increasing, and that not all supporters are in control of their emotions. Something only needs to happen a few more times.” Once that point arrives, football fans should be more permanently banned from attending, Struijs told the newspaper.
The NPB chair said that there football-related violence is similar as in previous years, but the police rank-and-file has still not recovered to full strength after the coronavirus pandemic. The police “still spend a lot of manpower on demonstrations, and the festival season is coming again. We have to make choices,” he continued.
Leeuwarden Mayor Sybrand Buma decided last month to no longer allow visiting team fans to attend SC Cambuur home matches for the rest of the season. Buma made that decision in consultation with the Public Prosecution Service and the police after rioters caused destruction to his city following a match against SC Heerenveen. That caused frustration within the Frisian club.
After the decision in Leeuwarden, Dutch football association KNVB, the Eredivisie and the Eerste Divisie also expressed their disagreement to a ban on away fans. They said that those in charge of professional football in the Netherlands “believe that, in principle, the supporters of both clubs should be able to be present at every match.” They added, “That makes the atmosphere in the stadiums and is part of professional football.”
The Dutch association of football fans, Supporterscollectief Nederland, also said it believes that banning visiting team supporters is not the solution to the problems.
Reporting by ANP