Amsterdam Mayor wants extra security measures for Ajax games following Sunday riots
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema believes she will need to intervene if Ajax and the Dutch football association KNVB are not willing to take further measures following the disturbances on Sunday in and around the Johan Cruijff ArenA. She might then decide to include certain stipulations in the permit conditions for Ajax's matches in Amsterdam or, in the most extreme case, ban the matches. Halsema made these remarks Monday evening on the TV program Nieuwsuur.
The game between Ajax and Feyenoord was halted after 55 minutes on Sunday afternoon after fireworks were thrown on the pitch twice. Riots broke out outside the stadium. Rocks, bottles, and fireworks were thrown at the riot police, who eventually had to use tear gas to restore order.
"I believe there should be thorough frisking, nets should be put up, and if necessary, lifetime stadium bans should be issued and enforced," Halsema said in reaction to what happened. She further suggested that the club should consider leaving stands with hooligans empty.
Voor de Amsterdamse burgemeester Femke Halsema is de maat vol. Ze wil dat Ajax maatregelen neemt en dat ze die desnoods kan opnemen in de vergunning. “Anders mag je niet spelen.”— NOS Sport (@NOSsport) September 25, 2023
Meer → https://t.co/NwuJP2DbTR pic.twitter.com/dqYhqBHhJu
When asked if she could force the KNVB and Ajax to implement these measures, she said it was possible "if absolutely necessary." "In the most extreme case, you could say: no match will be played. But of course, it's a decision you never want to make because it affects all the other fans who just want to enjoy the football."
Unlike last season, matches are not automatically halted after several interruptions. It is no longer required if the culprit is immediately apprehended and no player or referee is injured. Mayors can request the KNVB not to halt matches if it represents a threat to public order. "But that's unusual," Halsema said on Nieuwsuur, "and there was definitely no reason to say: let's just continue, after fireworks had been thrown onto the field twice."
On Nieuwsuur, Halsema also addressed the capacity problems within the police force, a concern that had been raised by regional mayors and the police earlier on Monday. They together called for an investment of 400 million euros. "The shortage within the police force is a national issue," Halsema said. "As mayors, we've been reallocating resources for years due to the shortage, but in reality, we've been understaffed for a long time. It's becoming critical,” she added.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times