Football clubs plan to play in front of fans in defiance of coronavirus rules

Cash-strapped ADO are facing relegation from the Eredivisie. Photo: Wikipedia
ADO Den Haag are among the clubs who want fans back in the stadium. Photo: Wikipedia

Professional football clubs are planning to open their stadiums to fans in defiance of the coronavirus ban if the rules are not relaxed when the government next reviews them on January 25.

VVV Venlo, Top OSS and ADO Den Haag all told RTL Nieuws that they were in talks with local authorities about the consequences of protesting against the rules.

Eredivisie clubs are not playing in the final weekend of January because of international fixtures, but a full programme of matches is scheduled in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie.

A spokesman for TOP Oss said the club was holding talks on Wednesday with local police and safety officials about playing against Den Bosch on January 28 in front of fans. ‘We want to play the derby in a full ‘Kuipje’ stadium with fans and sponsors,’ he said.

The plans reflect a growing mood of unrest in several sectors that have been closed by the lockdown imposed last month. More than 40 theatres are opening on Wednesday as hair salons, while several museums are opening as gyms to highlight the difference between sectors that were allowed to reopen this week and those that remain shut.

Last weekend caf├ęs and restaurants in several Dutch cities opened to customers despite being ordered to stay shut because of the high infection rate. Mayors said beforehand they would not enforce the rules or issue fines during the day of action.

On Monday more than 42,000 coronavirus infections were recorded in 24 hours by the public health agency RIVM, a record for a single day. Health minister Ernst Kuipers said the daily figure could peak at around 80,000 even with the limited easing of the lockdown from last weekend.

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