The city of Nijmegen will not allow supporters of the AZ Alkmaar to attend Sunday’s games against NEC Nijmegen. The municipality decided this following the riots that broke out in the AFAS Stadium on Thursday after the semi-final loss of 1-0 against West Ham United in the Conference League.
At the final whistle, a group of Alkmaar fans broke through a fence and sought confrontation with people cheering for West Ham on the main stand. The West Ham players’ family members, partners, and friends were also in the stands, as were the team’s technical staff.
In consultation with the Public Prosecution Service and the police, Nijmegen Mayor Hubert Bruls decided to prevent AZ supporters from entering the stadium on Sunday, the municipality reported. As there have been no arrests made following Thursday’s disturbances, the municipality is concerned that the crowd may include individuals who misbehaved on that day.
No arrests were made on Thursday as the primary focus of the police was to restore public order and safety, according to a spokesperson. The Alkmaar police announced on Saturday that they plan to release images of those involved in the riots. They further stated that individuals present at the scene have the opportunity to come forward voluntarily, which could prevent the release of these images.
A detection team is currently working on identifying suspects. They urge individuals with relevant information or footage related to the disturbances to step forward.
The Nijmegen mayor expressed regret about the necessity of the stadium ban for AZ fans, stating it was unfortunate that the actions of a few negatively affect many. NEC also said they regret the match will take place without AZ supporters.
Reacting to the stadium ban, AZ stated, “We ask our supporters to accept this enforced decision. Let’s use the forthcoming period to let the positive aspects of the largely fantastic support throughout this season prevail once again. AZ finds it extraordinarily annoying that the large group of well-intentioned supporters is bearing the brunt of the idiotic behavior of a few.”
AZ also added that fans who purchased tickets for Sunday’s match would be personally notified.