Before the match with RKC Waalwijk (5-1 win), the Feyenoord players made a statement about the behavior of some supporters. The Rotterdam team entered the field wearing special jerseys with the text ‘Use your mind’.

The text refers to a statement by John de Wolf, who last Wednesday at the KNVB Cup semi-final in De Kuip called on the fans present to use their common sense. That was after the game was stopped because Ajax player Davy Klaassen was hit with a lighter. A suspect was arrested by the police during the match.

One day after the incident, the KNVB introduced stricter measures forcing referees to stop matches before riots with spectators. Feyenoord are no longer taking risks and will play the remaining games at home with nets around the entire pitch at De Kuip.

Dennis te Kloese: ‘It is necessary in this situation’

Feyenoord general manager Dennis te Kloese shook his head when he looked at De Kuip just before the duel with RKC Waalwijk. The nets hang between stout posts along the length of the field. The home club hopes to prevent more players from being injured by public objects after Davy Klaassen.

“It’s still a shame, but this is necessary in the current situation at De Kuip,” says Te Kloese. “The KNVB will suspend the matches earlier after problems with the fans. We’re rocking something beautiful this season and we’re not taking any chances. We will continue to analyze the situation and hopefully no other measures will be necessary.”

Feyenoord are so far the only club in the Netherlands to have netted the entire length of the pitch following the KNVB’s stricter measures forcing referees to stop matches early if objects are thrown onto the pitch. “But I still see it as a problem for society as a whole,” says coach Arne Slot. “Society is getting tougher. If only we could go back in time fifteen years.”

Hartman: “It’s a shame with such beautiful fans”

Left-back Quilindschy Hartman is also fed up with nets all around the pitch. ,,Obviously you don’t pay attention to it when you’re playing, but of course it’s not a pretty sight when you look at it. It’s especially embarrassing and unnecessary at a club with such a big fan base like Feyenoord.”

“We could use this for a while,” Hartman said after the 5-1 win over RKC. “It was a very bad week for us. That seems clear to me. The worst thing was that it wasn’t even about football,” Hartman referred to Ajax player Davy Klaassen’s head injury. “There was a lot of negativity at our club. All the Netherlands talked about us. But we didn’t throw that thing at Klaassen. We can’t do much about it.”

John.  The Wolf urges the fans to rest
John. The Wolf urges the fans to rest © Photography Pim Ras

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