Television football analyst Johan Derksen has identified an ‘actual problem’ with his comments about Dutch Moroccan amateur footballers, sports minister Edith Schippers told reporters on Friday.
‘You cannot deny there are far more incidents at some clubs than others,’ Schippers said. Asked why she considered it an actual problem, Schippers said: ‘We see it happen on sports pitches. And we should not ignore it, but look at how to solve it.’
The government has extended its joint programme with the police and sports officials to improve sport safety, she said. In addition, the Dutch football association KNVB should also look at how improvements can be made at clubs were there is a problem, she said.
Derksen, 67, told television programme Voetbal Inside on Monday that some amateur clubs no longer function or are disappearing because their percentage of players with a Moroccan background is too high. ‘I will be dismissed as a racist but I really don’t give a damn,’ he told the show.
Some clubs have been damaged because they are located in areas where many Moroccan families live, he said. Moroccan players dominate and the Dutch boys go to other clubs. ‘They don’t want to work with nine Moroccan lads who don’t dare to shower naked,’ he said.
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher said earlier that Derksen is free to raise problems but that banning Moroccan players from football clubs would be racist.
Mehdi Harboul, chairman of football club SV Nieuw-West, told the Volkskrant his club has just one native Dutch player, who is with a senior team.
‘Amsterdam has 180 nationalities and I would like to see that reflected in the club,’ he said. ‘Of course there are sometimes incidents but it is not as if we are constantly putting out fires. We are a healthy club with 450 members, plus members and trainers, right down to E6.’
Paul Verveel, former head of amateur football at the KNVB and chairman of ‘minority’ club VV Hoograven, told the Volkskrant that some 20% of football club members have an ethnic minority background.
‘If minorities are involved in some 30% of incidents, then that is above average,’ he said. ‘But it is not an awful lot more. And there are problems reported at fewer than 1% of the 30,000 matches which take place every weekend.’
The most notorious incident involving Dutch Moroccan youngsters took place three years ago, when referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen died in hospital the day after being attacked by a group of yougsters after a B youth match.
The attack on Nieuwenhuizen forced the Dutch football association to implement new measures, including a hotline, to try to stop off-the-pitch violence.
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