Fan violence brings rivalry football match to early end
The match between MVV Maastricht and Roda JC Kerkrade in the First Champion Division was discotinued on Friday evening. Referee Joey Kooij decided to send players to the changing rooms just before half-time after spectators threw fireworks on the field.
The Riot Squad had to haul supporters off the field. Fights also broke out among supporters.
Kooij decided more than half an hour later not to resume the match because the unrest continued. The score was still 0-0.
"In the end, the mayor said we could not continue," Kooij said. "We consulted with all parties, including the safety coordinators. It is a pity that it turned out this way."
Football union KNVD found it "very upsetting" that the match was broken off, "but the KNVB supports the mayor's decision," the union stated in response.
There have been many incidents in and around football stadiums in recent weeks. Several matches had to be temporarily halted due to disturbances in the stands. It is the first time this season that a game has been abandoned.
Roda JC trainer Jurgen Streppel spoke of the right decision. "I no longer understand what is happening in professional football in recent weeks; apparently, people are going crazy."
MVV coach Klaas Wels agreed, "Mutual rivalry is good; that is part of football. But it must be kept within limits. That was not the case here."
The stadium gates reopened around 9:45 p.m. The riot squad remained present to ensure a safe departure of the supporters. So far, the police did not make any arrests in Maastricht.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.