Rising football hooliganism needs to be tackled, warns Dutch FA

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Even though fans have only just been allowed back into stadiums, football hooliganism is on the rise, football association KNVB has said.

Some 45 investigations into trouble involving football supporters have already been started in the first part of the current season. ‘Players have been hit with plastic cups of beer, people and groups have been targeted by chants, and there have been fights outside some stadiums,’ the KNVB said in a statement earlier this week. ‘Rivalry gives an extra dimension to this, but it does have clear limits.

The KNVB said the lockdown had contributed to fans ‘not acknowledging boundaries’. Throwing beer at players, in particular, seems to have become normal,’ KNVB spokesman Jaap Paulsen told NOS radio. ‘But of course it isn’t.’

The association has already banned 150 people from attending games this season, half the total in a normal year.  ‘We see this behaviour outside football as well,’ Paulsen said. ‘Since most coronavirus measures have been lifted, people seem to need to let off steam. Our figures confirm that.’

The statement was signed by all 34 professional Dutch clubs plus supporters organisations who will be meeting in the coming days to try to turn the tide. ‘Football is the most beautiful game,’ the KNVB said. ‘Let us not allow it to be ruined by a small group, now we can all enjoy it together again.’

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