Vitesse fans strip-searched in Rome; Arnhem mayor furious
Mayor Ahmed Marcounc of Arnhem lodged a complaint with the Italian ambassador in the Netherlands, Giorgio Novello, and asked for an explanation for what he calls the humiliating treatment of Vitesse supporters. According to the mayor, the 800 accompanying supporters were subjected to a "very intrusive and humiliating search" by the Roman police around the away match in the Conference League against AS Roma last month.
Marcouch heard testimonies that "several supporters, both men and women, had told the Dutch police that they were taken to one side at the stadium and had to remove their clothing before their bodies were searched. Several (female) supporters also testified that they were subjected to internal checks. A representative of the security organization of Vitesse, who was in contact with AS Roma and collaborated with the security company of AS Roma, was also subjected to such a check."
In a letter to the ambassador, the Arnhem mayor wondered whether these checks were justified. "This very intrusive and humiliating search took place among all the football supporters who went along, raising questions about the proportionality of the checks. This type of check, where supporters had to undress and were searched internally, in my opinion, has no place at all in sight of visitors to a football game and is highly inappropriate."
According to Marcouch, the events in Rome "had a major influence" on many Arnhem supporters. "The match in Italy will remain with them for a long time, unfortunately for a very wry reason. I hope that this type of search will no longer occur. After all, we have a joint task to make professional football a place that is safe, hospitable, and pleasant to visit - for men, women, and children."