Thousands of Dutch football fans to return next week for Holland v Latvia World Cup qualifier
Holland has revealed plans to allow thousands of football fans, some without face masks, back into stadiums next week.
Dutch football chiefs and the government will open doors at the Johan Cruyff Arena for the World Cup qualifying match between Holland and Latvia on Saturday 27 March.
Up to 5,000 spectators will be allowed into the stadium in Amsterdam – provided they can show they have tested negative for Covid-19.
While some of the fans will be required to wear face mask, others will be free to go without and encouraged to sing and cheer – activities widely banned at the little live sport that has admitted spectators since pre-pandemic times.
It is hoped the test event will improve understanding of how and when fans come into contact at matches.
“This is a good experiment with which we can show that it is possible that we can soon get people in the stadium again,” said Gijs de Jong, secretary general of Holland’s football association, the KNVB.
Holland has administered 1.78m doses of Covid-19 vaccine to its 17.28m population.
The UK is much further ahead in its vaccine rollout, having administered 26m doses to its population of 66.7m, yet does not plan to allow fans back to live sport even for test events until late April.
Holland’s move will reassure European football’s governing body Uefa that it can, as planned, host matches at this summer’s delayed Euro 2020.
Uefa warned this week that it would cut any of its 12 host cities for the tournament that could not guarantee fans would attend games.