The Dutch Association of football fans Supporters Collectief Nederland expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the municipality of Nijmegen to ban AZ fans from Sunday’s match against NEC Nijmegen. The association argued that banning away fans is not the appropriate solution.
The city of Nijmegen announced on Saturday that it will not allow AZ supporters to attend Sunday’s games against NEC Nijmegen. The municipality decided this following the riots that broke out in the AFAS Stadium on Thursday after the semi-final loss of 1-0 against West Ham United in the Conference League.
According to Matthijs Keuning, chairman of the association, banning away fans “penalizes the wrong people and solves nothing. The match between NEC and AZ is of a completely different nature compared to Thursday’s game. A large group of fans has nothing to do with what happened.These fans just want to support AZ during the game, and now they can’t.”
“We’ve said before that we don’t believe in collective punishment. An approach targeting perpetrators is the only solution. The presence of cameras in the stadium also provides a means to quickly arrest people,” he added.
NEC’s supporters’ association also said banning away fans was not a good decision. “This measure has a snowball effect on the freedom to attend matches and creates a situation where well-intentioned fans will start turning against their own club and authorities,” the association stated in a statement.