Ajax pressing charges against Feyenoord fan who threw object at Davy Klaassen's head
Ajax is pressing charges against the Feyenoord supporter who threw a lighter at Davy Klaassen during the KNVB Cup semi-final on Wednesday evening, hitting the Ajax player in the head, NU.nl reports. The police arrested a 32-year-old man from Roelfarendsveen shortly after the incident, the Rotterdam police said on Twitter. A second man was arrested for setting off heavy fireworks at the start of the match, mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told Rijnmond.
Klaassen was hit on the head in the 62nd minute of De Klassieker in Rotterdam and was bleeding profusely. Referee Allard Lindhout immediately stopped the match. Play resumed about half an hour later. Ajax won 1-2 and qualified for the cup final.
Despite criticism of the decision to resume the match, Klaassen is happy they could finish it. “I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to run away. Then they have you. I won’t allow that,” he said to ESPN afterward. “Yes, this goes beyond all limits. When we play here, it is always crazy matches. But we didn’t expect this.”
Klaassen was on the field when the match resumed but stepped out a few minutes later. “I felt a throbbing in my head. Then bravely continuing doesn’t make much sense. It’s fine now. And luckily, we won.”
Feyenoord’s general manager, Dennis te Kloese, apologized to Klaassen on behalf of the Rotterdam team. “The field is sacred. The players on it must always feel safe,” Te Kloese told ESPN after talking to the Ajax player. “We know that the atmosphere outside the field can be grim. But that must never be at the expense of the player.”
The match left Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb with a “nasty aftertaste,” he told Rijnmond. “It is disappointing that it was necessary to apparently throw a lighter at Klaassen’s head from the audience. Rightly so that the referee stopped the game for a while to calm things down,” the mayor said. “I find it extremely shocking that apparently, some people do such things overcome by emotions, or I don’t know what. That is incredibly harmful to Feyenoord; it is harmful to Dutch football.”
The KNVB called the incident a new low point. “Thousands of people go to the stadium to watch the players play football. Then it is insane that they are apparently not safe on the field,” the KNVB said, according to ANP. “Of course, clubs and organizations take precautions, but it starts with the perpetrators’ intentions. If you don’t come to the stadium for football but to riot, stay away: football, the clubs, the real supporters, and the players are better off without you.” The KNVB will “obviously” investigate the incident in De Kuip. “With the common goal of punishing the perpetrators.”
The police union ACP called on the Dutch football association KNVB to take “decisive action” after this latest incident. “Violence around football matches is unacceptable and further fuels the discussion about banning (away) audiences around matches,” the ACP said on social media. No away supporters have been allowed at matches between Feyenoord and Ajax for years.
Minister Dilan Yesilgöz of Justice and Security spoke of a new low point for football. “What a shame. If you harass or pelt players, you are not a supporter, but a huge bastard who should be punished,” she tweeted.