Amsterdam cautions bars ahead of football match

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Amsterdam will be keeping a close watch on its entertainment sector next week Tuesday, when the city hosts the Champions League football match between Ajax and Barcelona. Two separate letters went to businesses on Friday –one on behalf of Mayor Eberhard van der Laan and one from the police officers in charge of the Wallen Area-, asking them to be watchful as well.

The caution is obviously sparked by disturbances that erupted last week Tuesday, after the match between Ajax and Celtics from Glasgow. Police said that eight officers were hurt after being attacked with bottles and sticks by Celtic fans; they also said that some of the disorder had been sparked by Dutch fans getting hold of a flag which Celtic supporters had been holding.

Jeanine van Pinxteren, who wrote on behalf of the mayor appealed to the businesses to take certain precautions, like serving drinks in plastic cups instead of glasses, monitoring that no alcoholic beverages are consumed outside, and removing terraces in risk areas. She cautioned them that not following directions from police may well result in “administrative measures.”

Neighborhood police officers Rob Oosteren and Herman Jansen said anyone caught serving alcohol in a glass could expect these administrative measures. They said though that they were aware that many businesses took precautions out of their own initiative and they regretted having to send the letter to people who always cooperate. “With Ajax-Celtics we experienced some situations … It is not about your customers or your business operations, but about situations that occur outside your and your customers’ doing and that you cannot influence,” they stated.

The initiative was mostly welcomed, with one manager of an Amsterdam Centrum bar saying "It's really just a matter of common sense." As for who is to blame for the ruckus, the manager said, "They should get tough on Ajax supporters. It's almost always their fault."

Of the Celtic supporters, he said many more came into town than even he expected, "and they were just drinking and singing." That's why bars love it when they travel with their team. "But you know, you can only push someone from Glasgow so far."

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