Saturday 24 October 2020

Head of security council protests for right to chant at football matches

A silent stadium  Photo: FC Utrecht

A ban on cheering in football stadiums is unrealistic and impossible to enforce, according to the Nijmegen mayor and head of Gelderland-Zuid security council Hubert Bruls.

Bruls has written to health minister Hugo de Jonge and justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus to ask for a revision of the ruling, which is intended to dampen the spread of the coronavirus by reducing the amount of saliva particles in the air at matches.

When public sports matches were allowed again, the government said that spectators needed to keep a 1.5 metre distance from one another, seats must be reserved in advance and ‘screaming and chanting are not allowed’

Bruls told RTL Nieuws that ‘rules about the use of your voice, chanting or singing in a demonstration or football match are simply not possible to enforce…this is about the credibility of the government.’

He said that the security council would ‘keep its finger on the pulse’ as organised football began again to see whether people respect the ruling and whether it is indeed impossible to apply.

In his letter, which has been seen by DutchNews.nl, he called for De Jonge and Grapperhaus to revise the ban on chanting outdoors, adding that protest is a ‘crucial’ democratic right and it could also be curtailed by this ruling.

‘The ban on group singing or shouting at demonstrations and sporting competitions is so far from social reality that we as chairmen of the security council believe it is an impossible task,’ the letter says.

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