KNVB announces stricter rules for fans after 'outrageous incident' in which Ajax's Davy Klaassen bloodied by projectile

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Feyenoord Ajax Klaassen
The KNVB have tightened their regulations regarding fan interference in games in the aftermath of shocking turn of events in the Dutch Cup semi-final.
  • Klaassen's head cut open by projectile
  • KNVB condemns the incidents
  • Implements "strict" fan measures

WHAT HAPPENED? The national governing body has announced a new set of rules for fans in the wake of the unsavoury incidents which took place in the match between Feyenoord and Ajax, when Davy Klaassen was struck in the head by an object from the crowd.

WHAT THEY SAID: KNVB director, Marianne van Leeuwen, said on Thursday: "Last night we all witnessed an outrageous incident where a player was not safe on the field. This incident, unfortunately, is not an isolated incident. Of course we condemned it, because this and other misconduct in stadiums should never be considered normal. That is not the end of it for the KNVB. The field is sacred. The players and everyone else on the field must be able to do their jobs safely at all times. That is why we are introducing stricter measures with immediate effect."

WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES? "From now on, if objects are thrown on the field, the referee will decide to stop play and the teams and referees will go to the locker rooms," she explained. "If they resume the game and objects are again thrown on the field, the referee will permanently stop the game."

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"If a player or referee is hit with an object from the audience, the referee immediately will decide to suspend the match right away. Moving forwards, If a 'supporter' enters the field, the referee will decide to stop the game and the teams and referees go to the locker rooms. If they resume the game and a 'supporter' comes onto the field again, the referee will decide to permanently stop the game. If a 'supporter' comes onto the field and attacks a player or referee, the referee immediately decides to permanently stop the match."

AND WHAT'S MORE: She added: "By taking these steps, hopefully potential offenders will no longer get it into their heads to attack the main players on the field. We are completely done with that. Safety in and around a stadium is top priority and we do it together with clubs, supporters, municipalities, OM, police and government. The starting point remains that soccer must be accessible, welcoming and safe for all genuine supporters."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Needless to say, it was a feisty game which descended into farcical chaos. First, the match was suspended moments after kick-off, with a massive fireworks display forcing the referee to bring the play to halt before making sure it was safe to resume. The second incident saw midfielder Klaassen hit hard on his head with an object thrown by a fan shortly after scoring a goal. The Dutch international was bleeding from a wound at the back of his head as a result, and the game was suspended more than 15 minutes. When the match resumed, he departed due to pain in his head.

As Van Leeuwen acknowledged, these ugly incidents are a normal occurrence in Dutch football; most recently, in a Europa League tie between Sevilla and PSV Eindhoven, a PSV supporter ran onto the pitch in an attempt to punch the opposition goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic, only to be floored by the shot-stopper.


Klaassen vs Feyenoord

Davy Klaassen injured on ground Ajax

Davy Klaassen escorted off field Ajax 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Dutch police said on Twitter that they arrested a 32-year-old man suspected of throwing the object onto the field that dropped on Klaassen's head, with the projectile believed to be a cigarette lighter. Authorities arrested a total of 22 people after the match for lighting fireworks and throwing objects. As for Klaassen, his goal proved to be the winner in the game.