Disappointment and incomprehension among football clubs now that fans are banned: ‘We are suffering again’


The new and stricter measures hit the sport hard. Football is the sport that attracts the most audience, especially in professional football. The Gelderland clubs were largely informed by the KNVB on Monday afternoon of the painful decisions.

The measures apply for a minimum of three weeks. “We are not able to reduce the virus well enough,” said Prime Minister Rutte. “Travel movements create social contacts. Therefore, for the time being no audience at all sporting events.”

Also see: These are the new corona measures for our province

Damage again

A tour of Gelderland professional football clubs makes it clear that the disappointment is great. “Certainly if you look at all the work we have put into it to make the stadium corona-proof. There is a lot of work in it all the time,” says managing director Wilco van Schaik on behalf of NEC. “The misery increases again and we suffer damage again. It will end once. On the other hand, we are part of society and you cannot put football outside it.”

De Graafschap is also disappointed. “I did not see this coming. But I understand that we cannot place ourselves outside society,” says general director Ostendorp. “But I do have doubts about the fact that people are allowed to enter zoos, museums and theaters.” Van Schaik completely agrees. “That’s where the shoe pinches. This aspect is the curve in the whole story. Football is hit disproportionately hard, I think.”

Two incidents

Ostendorp suspects that the radical turnaround of the cabinet also has to do with the gathering of hundreds of fans in Tilburg during a Willem II match. A part of the Feyenoord audience also did not comply with the corona rules last week. “These are two incidents that probably played a role.”

Van Schaik indicates that many supporters have behaved exemplary. “That is why this is so difficult to digest. Everyone in the stadiums adheres perfectly to the rules. But I also understand that the cabinet does not want to make a distinction. We have been overtaken by the virus.”

Raw on the roof

Just like Van Van Schaik, Ostendorp also refers to all measures that De Graafschap has taken in and around the stadium in recent weeks. “We have also received a lot of compliments from people who carried out checks on this. In that respect, this is quite a hit with me. Until yesterday afternoon we just had everything very well organized.”

Ostendorp cannot yet clearly indicate what the drastic measures mean for De Graafschap. “We miss the income from two home games. But I can’t quite oversee it now.” Van Schaik: “We are hanging on the ropes, because this is another loss of income. But we are boxers and we are also getting out again.”

Unexpected decision

Vitesse also came with a quick response on Monday evening. Director Pascal van Wijk also emphasizes that a lot of work has been done to keep corona out. “This decision is a hard blow for the club, the supporters and the football world in general. An awful lot of colleagues have worked day and night to make the stadium visit corona proof. In addition, our supporters showed their best side. We also received many compliments for this. We did not see this rigorous decision coming. “

No scientific evidence

At the same time, there is understanding: “Of course it is top priority to get the corona virus under control. Health and safety come first. From the start of the corona crisis, we have made it clear that we follow the government and the RIVM in their advice and measures. there is now nothing else left than to respect the imposed decision. However, it is extremely regrettable that this decision was taken by the cabinet. All the more so because there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that there is a link between corona infections and a stadium visit “, said the general manager.

Finally, Van Wijk says: “We have to show resilience again. This disappointing decision does not hold us back either. With the head up we are working towards the moment when we can receive our supporters again. “

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