The Dutch league game between Ajax Amesterdam and FC Groningen was suspended 10 minutes after kick-off, following smoke bombs thrown on the field by fans.
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.
“FC Groningen - Ajax has been suspended after 10 minutes of playing due to multiple incidents in which fireworks were thrown onto the pitch. But as always: thank you fans for your unconditional support,” Ajax said in a statement.
Smoke bombs were launched into the pitch from the Groningen section in the sixth minute with a score of 0-0. Soon after, a supporter carrying a flag ran onto the ground and yelled obscenities at the club’s board, telling them to leave. Eventually, the supporter was apprehended.
The players had a brief break before returning to the pitch, where things quickly started to go wrong once more. Smoke bombs were once more launched from the box.
Following multiple cases, the football organisation KNVB has strengthened the rules. According to these new rules, a duel will be called off in the event of a second offence.
“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.
Ajax is third with a good chance of not going to the Champions League or the Europa League next season with its 63 points. Groningen, on the other hand, is 17th with just 18 points and is relegated.
More to follow.
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