The Dutch football association (KNVB) has published an 80-page restart document
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The main takeaway from the KNVB document is that only supporters from home clubs will be welcome in football stadiums. In order to keep the in and out-flow of people in stadiums controllable and safe, a collection of Dutch mayors and police chiefs have asked that only home fans come to the stadiums in the first phase of the football season. As reported by RTV Drenthe.
In the coming month, all of the professional football clubs in the Netherlands will begin practice matches to build match fitness. Clubs that wish can (in concert with their municipality) ask that a limited number of supporters be granted access to the games. Once the competitive season starts, the clubs have decided to spread supporters across the stadium: most clubs think that they will be able to fill 20 to 40 percent of their stadiums whilst upholding the 1.5-metre distance regulations. Groups of fans from the same households, and children under 18 will be able to sit with each-other.
The 80-page document has been created in advance of the 2020/1 Dutch football season, and is called “Safe start for paid football 2020-‘21” (Veilige opstart betaald voetbal 2020-’21). It’s packed full of advice, regulations, and suggestions for the clubs, and is the result of a working group that included representatives from the KNVB, the Eredivisie’s own marketing organization Eredevisie CV, the Coöperatie Eerste Divisie (representing clubs in the second division of Dutch football); FOX Sports (who carry the TV rights for the league), and both the Supporterscollectief Nederland and supporters groups from each club.
Advice for the clubs include making time-slots for supporters to enter and leave the stadium; this is especially important for stadium entries as all visitors will have to undertake a health check before going in. In the event of an emergency, then existing evacuation procedures will be used. The document does not give any advice around how clubs might try to stop chanting and singing during the matches: due to the way the Coronavirus spreads (through aerosol droplets), shouting and singing drastically raise the chances of passing on the disease.
All clubs must appoint a ‘Corona-Coordinator), who must make sure that the club and stadium keep to the Coronavirus regulations set out by the Dutch government. The KNVB asks that this Coordinator be someone from the medical staff at the club, to make sure that both the letter and spirit of the rules are kept to.
FC Emmen Director Jan Zwiers received the document this morning. “They are logical suggestions and regulations from the KNVB. Soon we will work with the local government to give this regulations some actual form, and that’s somewhat difficult. I think that we must use our own time as efficiently as possible. We can make various appointments with the local authorities, but in a month or two the situation might be completely different. Naturally, we’ll think about how we can make the stadium as full as possible. One suggestion is that we could open a ‘kids tribune’, since under-18’s don’t have to keep 1.5-metres from each-other. But this is all speculation. It’s too early to say for sure, but we hope that we can have a full stadium at some point.”