Incidents of football fan violence on the rise in 2022
Incidents of unrest at football matches this year are on the rise, compared with 2019 –– including increased open violence. Experts and politicians are taking notice of the concerning trend and have called for greater control over unruly stadium guests, according to the NOS.
The restrictions that accompanied the coronavirus pandemic brought a momentary lull to the amount of incidents at football matches, violent or otherwise. However, for the first six months of 2022, the number of incidents reported to the Public Prosecution Service (OM) already stands at 155. In contrast, there were 164 cases in the whole of 2019.
Of the incidents this year, 107 were violent, while in 2019, only 85 of the total reported cases were violent. Non-violent incidents included insults, vandalism and using fireworks, according to the NOS.
"There is a kind of anarchy and after the closure of access to stadiums, supporters were a bit starving and ready for a break," Jan Brouwer, professor of law and society at the University of Groningen, explained to the NOS. He thinks the rise in incidents shows football is becoming more "intense." Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz has also called attention to fan violence in recent months.
Arnhem Mayor Ahmed Marcouch believes fans with a history of violence should not be allowed to enter stadiums. "Football clubs still insist too much on the fact that there is no atmosphere without these kind of guests," he said. Marcouch is no stranger to football-related violence in his tenure as mayor: in April 2021 he had to issue an emergency order when he received word that football clubs Twente, N.E.C. and Vitesse planned to brawl in various locations throughout the city.
Brouwer suggested that mayors should be able to more easily announce bans for other stadiums, as well. The KNVB does have the authority to order a national stadium ban, which it has done more than 400 times in the first half of the last season.