AMSTERDAM: Spectators will be allowed back into stadiums to watch league matches in the Netherlands later this month, the Dutch football association (KNVB) said on Tuesday.
Matches across the top flight and second division on the weekend of April 23-25 will be allowed restricted crowds, with a capacity set for each game by local authorities.
The potential top-of-the-table match between Ajax Amsterdam and AZ Alkmaar on Sunday, April 25 would be allowed to admit 7,500 fans at the Amsterdam Arena, where the Netherlands played Latvia last month in a World Cup qualifier in front of 5,000 spectators involved in a state-sponsored study of crowd behaviour around the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 6,500 fans can attend Feyenoord’s meeting with Vitesse Arnhem, also on April 25.
"We are in close contact with the cabinet about the return of the public to the stadiums and taking the opportunities and possibilities that can speed up this process," KNVB director Eric Gudde told reporters.
"After the recent experiments, this is a very nice, new step: for the first time we will have spectators in the stands at all matches during a weekend of games."
Supporters who want to watch the games must submit a negative test for the novel coronavirus taken 24 hours before the match. Fans must keep 1.5 metres apart in the stands.
It is expected that crowds will be allowed to continue attending matches through to the last rounds of league games in May but this has not yet been decided.
“The new legal framework for rapid tests should become active in May. With a number of exciting rounds to go, it is realistic that this season will end as we started it - with fans in the stadiums cheering the players on,” Gudde added.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)