Dutch game abandoned after nine minutes as smoke bombs thrown

AFP , Sunday 14 May 2023

A Dutch league match between Groningen and Ajax was abandoned after just nine minutes on Sunday after fireworks and smoke bombs were thrown onto the pitch.

A supporter storms the field during the Dutch Premier league football match between FC Groningen and Ajax Amsterdam at the Euroborg stadium in Groeningen, on May 14, 2023 in Groningen. AFP


Fans of Groningen, angry at the club's relegation from the top-flight Eredivisie for the first time in 23 years, caused an initial stoppage after six minutes when fireworks landed near Dusan Tadic as the Ajax man prepared to take a corner, according to broadcaster NOS.

The players were taken from the pitch but a few minutes after the resumption, more fireworks were launched.

A fan, wearing a black balaclava and holding a banner insulting Groningen club management, then evaded security to run onto the pitch before being hauled down by security stewards.

"It's very sad when you are the manager of a football club and finishing a game, finishing the 90 minutes, looks like a victory," Groningen boss Wouter Gudde told NOS.

It is not known if the game will be replayed.

Sunday's incident was the latest to plague Dutch football.

The Dutch football federation (KNVB) recently tightened security measures after Netherlands international Davy Klaassen suffered a head injury caused by a cigarette lighter thrown from the crowd in the Dutch Cup semi-final between Feyenoord and Ajax in early April.

The KNVB instructed referees to halt games in the event of objects being thrown onto the pitch. If the trouble continued, the match must be abandoned.

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