‘Not every beer is dangerous’
The 32nd round of play was one of extremes. Feyenoord became champions. The match FC Utrecht-RKC Waalwijk on Saturday night was stopped twice because beer was thrown after home goals. The game between FC Groningen and Ajax was permanently halted because fireworks were thrown and a supporter came onto the field.
The big question now is: should all incidents be punished equally? “Not every beer is dangerous.” That is the opinion of Matthijs Keuning, chairman of Supporters Collective Netherlands. He pleads for more customization and wants to talk to the KNVB.
“Our question is: where do you draw the line? Should Utrecht-RKC really have been suspended twice? You do dupe a lot of well-intentioned supporters.”
The KNVB did not want to respond to questions following this weekend’s incidents.
What exactly was going on this weekend? The duel between FC Utrecht and RKC Waalwijk was stopped twice, the first time after a goal by Utrecht striker Anastasios Douvikas. He celebrated the goal in front of his supporters and received a “joy beer” towards the pitch. Beer also came onto the field after Utrecht’s second goal. The match was almost over by then.
“Pelting is something else,” says Keuning. “But if, out of enthusiasm, a beer happens to land on the field…. I really wonder if shutting down is the way to go. You also get held hostage by a few crazies if you’re too rigid.”
Although the KNVB wanted to stop the match permanently after the second incident according to the guidelines, it was decided to play the game anyway. This was at the request of Mayor Sharon Dijksma of Utrecht, who wanted the remaining minutes of injury time to be played out for safety reasons.
Was it right for the league to impose a strike when the game is almost finished?
“The KNVB does need to enforce so strictly,” said Evgeniy Levchenko, president of the players’ union. “It is not a good solution, because you disadvantage the benevolent supporters and the players. But there is no good alternative.”
Silencing as a strategy
Paul Depla, who sits on the Football and Safety steering committee on behalf of the mayors of the 31 soccer municipalities, also believes it is important to continue the policy of stoppages.
“As mayors, we think it is important that rules are applied clearly, predictably and quickly and that behavior is not without consequences.”
He also sees the positive effects. “The real supporters also show and hear that people who throw stuff on the field or enter the field cannot count on their support. Because those hooligans ruin soccer and dup the various clubs.”