Dutch football clubs experiment with fewer police and fences

Oranje supporters orange hockeySix Dutch local authority areas are to experiment with reduced policing at football matches, a spokesman for football association KNVB told the NRC.

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen, Nijmegen and Kerkrade will take part in the trials, which will begin after the winter break. The aim is to improve the atmosphere around football matches, the spokesman said.

The changes will mean less fencing, more interaction with supporters and fewer police on duty.

The experiment follows several months of talks between KNVB officials, local mayors, the justice ministry and police.

β€˜At the moment we take all sorts of measures which affect a lot of people but we are only after the 1%,’ the spokesman said.

The number of football related incidents has gone down compared with 10 years ago but rose last season after a period of stability. Last year there were 471 reported incidents inside stadiums – a rise of 23% – and 316 outside. The season involved 819 professional football matches.

Last weekend, three Eredivisie matches went ahead without police cover because of strike action. All three, including Ajax – AZ, passed off without incident, leading to calls for a reduction in policing.

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