Anti-Semitic chants may cost FC Utrecht €10k, hardcore supporter ban

Players of FC Utrecht (Picture: Twitter/@FcUtrecht) Players of FC Utrecht (Picture: Twitter/@FcUtrecht)

The Royal Dutch Football Association's (KNVB) in-house prosecutor specialized in professional football has given FC Utrecht a settlement proposal for the anti-Semitic chants heard during the match between FC Utrecht and AFC Ajax on April 5th. The proposal consists of a 10,000 euro fine and an empty hardcore supporter section, nicknamed the "Bunnikside," during the next home match against Ajax, KNVB stated in a press release on Tuesday.

Despite repeated, though often not strenuous requests to refrain from doing so, Ajax fans often refer to themselves as "Jews." Although Amsterdam had a Jewish population of about 80,000 before World War II, the football club was never directly affiliated in any way with Jewish organizations.

KNVB's in-house prosecutor wanted to know if the team took necessary measures to prevent the anti-Semitic chants during and after the match by, for example, punishing perpetrators individually. The in-house prosecutor determined FC Utrecht to have let supporters continue with the offensive chants, based on available information, including videos and witness statements.

The Ministry of Security and Justice, the police, KNVB, the Public Prosecutor and many mayors have made agreements according to which offensive expressions are prohibited from football stadiums. "Football is for everyone in the stadium, and everyone is welcome," the press release states.

Professional clubs and the KNVB have subsequently agreed on cracking down the offensive chants in every stadium. KNVB contacted several Jewish interest groups, including CIDI and CJO, to determine a starting point for a joint, structural approach to raise awareness among football fans across the country.

FC Utrecht has until June 1st to let the football association know if they agree with the settlement proposal.