Ajax's halted match against Feyenoord set to resume behind closed doors, sparking club outrage and potential legal action.
Dutch giants Ajax are in the midst of a whirlwind controversy after the Dutch FA (KNVB) confirmed that the abandoned match against their Eredivisie rivals, Feyenoord, will resume on Wednesday behind closed doors.
The initial showdown at the Johan Cruyff Arena came to a premature halt after home supporters flung flares and fireworks onto the pitch.
At the time, Feyenoord had a 3-0 lead, with 56 minutes played. The rivalry between these two teams, fondly known as De Klassieker, had already been marred by interruptions even before the regrettable flare incident.
Despite explicit warnings on the big screen against "lighting fireworks," a subset of Ajax supporters defied the prohibition.
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The mayhem did not end there. Following the game's suspension, confrontations outside the stadium prompted police intervention, resorting to tear gas to disperse the unruly crowd. Amsterdam police noted attempts by some Ajax enthusiasts to reenter the ground.
In the wake of the chaos, Ajax issued an apology for their fans' misconduct where Maurice Steijn, the team's coach, lamented the events," It's a jet black day for the club."
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Once champions, they currently sit 14th in the Eredivisie table, a significant fall from their third-place finish the prior season, which saw them 13 points behind champions Feyenoord.
The decision to replay the match so promptly, especially at 14:00 local time without any fans, has sparked another wave of disagreements.
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Ajax voiced their discontent in a statement: "The competition and cup program is now being adjusted by the KNVB for four clubs due to the completion of an abandoned match. Not only the clubs, but also the supporters are victims of this," as per BBC.
They argue that due to fixture congestion, the earliest feasible resumption should be in November. The upcoming KNVB Cup game involving Volendam only muddles the waters further.
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Volendam, similarly aggrieved by the postponement of their match, announced, "We will investigate what the club's rights are."
KNVB's response underlined the significance of maintaining league integrity. Their statement emphasized, "The basic principle is that the competition must be as fair as possible and that a match should therefore preferably be decided on the field. The match must then be resumed as soon as possible."