Riots: Remainder of suspended Ajax-Feyenoord match to be played in empty stadium
The remainder of the Eredivisie match between Ajax and Feyenoord will be played without an audience on Wednesday, September 27 at 02.00 p.m., the Dutch football association KNVB announced on Monday. The game was halted after 55 minutes on Sunday after fireworks were thrown on the pitch. Riots broke out outside the stadium, injuring two police officers.
"The basic principle is that the competition must be as fair as possible and that a match should therefore preferably be decided on the field," the KNVB wrote. The decision to reschedule the game on Wednesday was made in consultation with the municipality of Amsterdam. As a result, the match between Ajax and FC Volendam, originally scheduled for Wednesday, September 27, will be postponed to a later date.
The Amsterdammers were 3-0 down to arch-rivals Feyenoord before the match was abandoned due to the supporters in the Johan Cruijff Arena throwing fireworks on the pitch.
The game had previously been temporarily halted because a fan threw a beer cup on the pitch. A few minutes after the game resumed, shortly before halftime, a flare was thrown onto the pitch from the F-side area of the stadium. The F-side is the Ajax hardcore supporter group. However the match was restarted again until the F-side threw another couple of flares onto the pitch leaving the officials with no choice but to halt the match 35 minutes before the end.
With Feyenoord leading 3-0 against rivals Ajax, flares and fireworks were thrown on to the pitch, forcing the game to be officially suspended 💥— SPORTbible (@sportbible) September 24, 2023
Drama in 'De Klassieker' 🇳🇱😳 pic.twitter.com/CDfT3PwvMV
After the match was permanently halted, the situation escalated as Ajax fans forced their way back into the stadium, breaking windows and vandalizing the main entrance. Rocks were torn from the streets and thrown at police and riot police officers. The tumult calmed down after the riot police charged and deployed tear gas.
The police reported 15 arrests during and after the game on Monday. Among them were those who threw fireworks and the beer cup. Of the people arrested, six individuals, suspected of rock-throwing, remained in custody as of Monday. More arrests have not been ruled out.
Two officers sustained injuries from rocks. One required hospital evaluation, but both completed their shifts. The injury count could rise as the full extent of injuries becomes apparent post-adrenaline.
Riots near the stadium impacted nearby facilities. Children at the play paradise Ballorig witnessed the violence, with some even crying from the chaos. Due to the unrest, exits were blocked, and people were kept inside. The Perry Sport store, located adjacent to the Johan Cruijff ArenA, closed two hours early. Deeply shaken staff had to use the store's back entrance to avoid danger.
Ajax interim director Jan van Halst said Sunday that his club had done everything possible to prevent disturbances. "More agents and stewards were deployed," he said. "And yet we were all unable to prevent it from getting out of hand. That is a sad observation."
Official statement Ajax:— All About Ajax (@AllAboutAjax) September 24, 2023
“The management and Supervisory Board of Ajax distance themselves from the misconduct that led to the abandonment of the match against Feyenoord on Sunday and the disturbances afterwards. This is not the behavior that belongs to Ajax.”#Ajax | #AJAfey pic.twitter.com/F0yFHdQxnn
On Monday, Ajax emailed season ticket holders to express their “sincerest apologies” for Sunday's events. "The troubles that you have experienced in and around the stadium concerns us," the club wrote.
E-mail sent by #Ajax:— All About Ajax (@AllAboutAjax) September 25, 2023
"The events in and around the stadium yesterday caused a very unpleasant situation. Our sincerest apologies. The troubles that you have experienced in and around the stadium concerns us. Once again we apologise and thank you for your unconditional support. pic.twitter.com/rYAI8JdDUU
Louis Van Gaal will not come to the rescue of the Amsterdam club
Ajax is facing one of its darkest days in his history. Amid criticism of the club's management and performance, Ajax fired their Director of Football, Sven Mislintat, on Sunday evening. The German director was hired less than four months ago and spent over 100 million in the summer to replace important players who left. But the signings have not delivered thus far, with Ajax having just one win out of their first nine competitive matches this season.
Louis van Gaal's name was frequently mentioned as a potential rescuer for Ajax on Sunday evening. The 72-year-old former coach led Ajax to three national titles and won the UEFA Cup and Champions League in the 1990s.
Rafael van der Vaart said on Sunday evening that Louis van Gaal was the ideal person to steer Ajax out of a crisis. The former footballer spoke with the former national coach on Sunday evening. "His heart is breaking," Van der Vaart said on NOS. "But his health prevents him from having a full-time job. So essentially, that's a no. However, he can definitely offer advice. He knows football. In my eyes, he's currently the ideal man to save Ajax."
Louis van Gaal has prostate cancer and is constantly under treatment. He recently said that he had undergone another operation recently.
“Not an option”, says Louis van Gaal on Ajax job when asked by NOS. He’s not gonna work at clubs again. 🔴⚪️🇳🇱— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 25, 2023
This is due to health reasons as he’s still dealing with prostate cancer — and he remains under continuous treatment, reports @NOS. pic.twitter.com/gM6UaD1hXr
He informed NOS on Monday morning that stepping in to help the Amsterdam club was not an option. "My health comes first," he said. He made it clear that he will not be coaching a club. However, he did not close the door to coaching the national team again. "That depends on many factors," he said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times