Arena Director: fall Ajax supporter was accident

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It seems the fall of the Ajax supporter Tuesday, during the match Ajax-Barcelona, is the result of an "unfortunate fall," reported director of the Amsterdam ArenA,  Henk Markerink, to Radio 1.During the match Ajax FC Barcelona a man fell from the first row of the stands of the F-side, five meters down. The unfortunate supporter did not climb on a wall, nor did he deliberately jump. Whether he was pushed is still under investigation. There are camera images from different angles, and several witness reports, so the results of the investigation shouldn't be too long, but an initial conclusion points to an unfortunate fall, according to Markerink.

First responders attempt to help a fan who fell from the stands during the 26 Nov. 2013 Ajax v. Barcelona match (Mitch van Helvert/Twitter)

The fan is still in the hospital with a severe head injury, and there is no change in his situation compared to last night. The incident happened around the 39th minute, just before Hoesen scored the 2-0 for Ajax.

The fence of the grandstand is 1.10 meter high. The Arena meets the safety standard. Nevertheless, measures are being discussed to prevent such accidents in the future. First the cause of the accident needs to be determined, so the course of action can be determined. That could be anything from increasing the height of the gate to placing a safety net over the ditch. The concrete ditch was constructed to keep soccer fans from running up the field.

Spectators who feel the need are welcome Thursday evening to talk about the accident, announced Ajax on the club website. People from Ajax, the Amsterdam ArenA, and medical and professional assistance will be present at the meeting. The meeting starts at 19:00 am at the Supporters Home near the ArenA. Ajax requested media not to come, "because of the sensitive nature of the meeting."

It is the first time since the opening of the stadium in 1996 for such a serious accident to occur. In 2003, a supporter, who was standing on the edge of the fence, fell down, but he only suffered minor injuries. Another time a spectator jumped down into the pit. He too, was only lightly wounded.