‘Hooligans have FC Groningen under their thumb, staff regularly threatened’

‘Hooligans have FC Groningen under their thumb, staff regularly threatened’
A supporter stormed the field during the game last Sunday

NOS News

Security guards, supporters, catering staff and the police are regularly threatened by FC Groningen hooligans. As a result, security guards look the other way when, for example, fireworks are smuggled in, hardly anything is done about it and stadium staff work under great pressure. The Dagblad van het Noorden draws these conclusions after talking to various sources.

According to Evert van Dijk, editor-in-chief of the Groningen newspaper, many people around the soccer club have been spoken to. Everyone wants to remain anonymous out of fear. “Security guards are told that they (the hooligans, ed.) do know where they live and are very intimidated,” says Van Dijk is the NOS Radio 1 News.

‘You keep your mouth shut, because I know where you live and where your children go to school,’ is a statement one of the security guards got thrown at his head when he caught a hooligan with fireworks. The soccer fan was then allowed to walk on. Sometimes staff would even be asked to take items for the hooligans into the stadium.

Undermining character

Groningen’s mayor confirms the stories to the newspaper. “That kind of noise comes to our ears as well,” a spokesman said. “Very serious. The misbehavior in the stadium has by now taken on an undermining character.”

Agents are also afraid of people from that group of hooligans, Van Dijk said. One of Groningen’s most notorious hooligans is Jan B. He too was on the field last Sunday. The Dagblad van het Noorden describes him as “the informal gang leader of a group of old supporters from the Z-side,” the hard core of FC Groningen.

B. had already spent six years in prison for, among other things, extortion, aggravated assault and for being in the criminal organization and hooligan club Groningen Casual Firm. One of the sources the newspaper spoke to says that everyone is afraid of B. “From supporters and hospitality workers to police officers. Anyone who doesn’t listen to him will get trouble. He won’t let anything or anyone stop him.”

Protocol fails

Messages were already circulating on social media beforehand about the disruption of the FC Groningen – Ajax match, says Van Dijk. This is also confirmed by one of the sources, also a season-ticket holder. “Everyone in the stadium was talking about it.”

“FC Groningen says they did everything possible and consulted with the security region and with the police beforehand,” Van Dijk said. “Afterwards, the KNVB also said that the protocol was followed. You can conclude that either the protocol is flawed or things didn’t go right. We saw what happened last Sunday: heavy smoke bombs on the field that caused the match to be stopped.”

Supporters throw fireworks on field at FC Groningen-Ajax: game halted

Rioters want the FC Groningen board to resign because of the poor results this season, resulting in relegation. That had not happened in 23 years.

The misbehavior in Groningen is reason for the mayor to see to what extent the final match, at home against Sparta, can go ahead on May 28. Conditions may have to be attached. This is something the municipality will discuss with FC Groningen, a spokesman for the mayor tells NOS.

That the match will not go ahead at all seems unlikely. Last Sunday’s suspended match was also played, but without an audience. According to the rules, it is up to the Professional Football League Committee to decide what should happen with the remainder of the match. For fair competition, the starting point is to play out.

Kayleigh Williams