Politicians denounce celebration of 35th Ajax championship; 12,000 fans gathered
Hugo de Jonge condemned the gathering of 12,000 Ajax supporters who disregarded coronavirus measures and requests not to group up when celebrating the team’s Eredivisie championship on Sunday evening. Fans began to gather at the Johan Cruijff Arena as it became clear the team would triumph over Emmen and secure the top spot on the table.
"I think it is good to realize that we still have to keep obeying the rules for a long time. We really have to be disciplined", said De Jonge.
Caretaker Security and Justice Minister Ferd Grappherhuis also expressed his disappointment with Sunday's event and said it was not wise for such a huge number of fans to get together with coronavirus infections and Covid-19 patient totals still high. According to him, if the measures are continuously violated like that, it only leads to future reopening plans being pushed even further.
"This should not have happened. We want to get the coronavirus under control as soon as possible, things like this mean that we may have to postpone easing again," he argued.
Ajax’s 35th championship was celebrated by some 12,000 supporters who came to the stadium on Sunday evening, even though the city did not want it to happen. After the victory over Emmen, fans gathered for a long period of time in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the team. Eventually, the players and staff of Ajax appeared on one side of the stadium and held up the championship dish to the fans who remained. Following the pinnacle moment, the celebratory action ended without police intervention.
City authorities made the choice not to break up the festive championship to prevent disturbances and an escalation of violence. This also prevented a massive relocation of supporters to the open terraces of the city center, the city said in a statement. Under the guidance of the police, most of the supporters peacefully exited the stadium and went home.
The explanation might not be enough for politicians in city council. They want Femke Halsema, the city’s mayor, to explain how the situation unfolded, and at what point the team was allowed to hold a rally even though it was previously announced this would not happen. The team said Sunday night it had remained in constant contact with city officials.
Prior to Sunday's game, information appeared that the supporters wanted to gather on central Amsterdam square Leidseplein. The mayor of Amsterdam, therefore, issued an emergency order for Leidseplein earlier this week, giving the police the opportunity to check people for fireworks, weapons, or alcohol. There was also a ban on the sale and possession of alcohol on and around the square.
Fifteen people who allegedly carried weapons and fireworks were arrested in the aftermath of the celebrations which did not cause any violent incidents, the municipality of Amsterdam stated in a press release. According to the press release, the police did not have to take action against public nuisance. The squares in the Amsterdam city center have remained relatively quiet.
Amsterdam football club secured the league trophy on Sunday following the 4-0 victory against FC Emmen. Two weeks earlier, Ajax also took home the Dutch cup for the 20th time in the club’s history after a 2-1 win against Vitesse Arnhem.