Michael van Praag is very concerned about Dutch football and in particular about the supporters of the various clubs that play European football.
It has turned out to be a restless European season as far as the incidents involving the Dutch European clubs are concerned. UEFA has already handed out various fines and warnings and now that the clubs are performing better than ever sportingly, there are also more matches to be played and so the chance of more incidents has also increased.
After the match between AZ and West Ham United, things went wrong in the stands of both stadiums in both London and Alkmaar. The supporters of the Alkmaarders attacked family and friends of the West Ham players, where the opposite happened a week earlier. UEFA observers happened to be in the sections of the AZ stadium where the riots broke out. In conversation with NOS, Michael van Praag, chairman of the UEFA stadiums and safety committee, responded to the whole thing.
Van Praag is very concerned. “They kept their hands off the elderly, women and children, that is a golden rule,” the driver notes. “That happened yesterday at AZ. If you are going to attack family members of players, then the limit has been reached,” Van Praag told NOS . “AZ is responsible for the state of affairs and safety in the stadium. The club can count on a letter from UEFA”, it still sounds mild.
“The level of the sanction will depend on the history of the club. I cannot say anything more about that, because the disciplinary law is an independent body,” he says. Van Praag notices that things are increasingly going wrong between supporters of the Dutch clubs. “Feyenoord takes the cake in that regard, but PSV supporters can also do something about it,” says the chairman about supporter violence that PSV has had to deal with recently.
“We are in the European top ten and one Dutch club in the top five. As a Dutchman I am embarrassed when I see those lists. Why don’t we address this? At the beginning of this century, alcohol was not allowed to be drunk in stadiums. Then it goes well for a while and we let it sail again. But after covid we see that people have started to behave differently, throughout society. There is violence against aid workers, but also in the stadiums,” van Praag continues, before citing the incident against Sevilla in the home game.
“Take that boy at PSV, who attacked the keeper of Sevilla. He had sniffed and drunk. If you do both, then you are no longer in your senses, then you no longer recognize your own mother, so to speak,” says Van Praag.