AMSTERDAM: Dutch fans took just half an hour to snap up all the tickets for the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Latvia this month after the Netherlands allowed 5,000 spectators to attend the match as part of a study that could help get fans back into games quicker.
The Dutch football association (KNVB) said it was delighted at the response to the experiment, being run in collaboration with the government, which will look at how many contact situations there are between people at the event.
"It shows people are eager to get back to the stadiums after a year of corona restrictions and sitting at home,” Gijs de Jong, secretary general of the KNVB, told Dutch media on Thursday.
Spectators at the Johan Cruijff Arena on March 27 will be divided into different sections, where some must wear face masks but others will be allowed to go without them and be able to sing and shout encouragement to the team.
Spectators would have to show they had tested negative for COVID-19 before being allowed into the stadium and follow strict instructions on staggered entry into the stadium.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford)