Police used tear gas to push back the fans
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The club is on fire”. That’s what Ajax fans wrote on their official website after Sunday’s abandoned Eredivisie derby with Feyenoord. Ajax fans began throwing torches onto the pitch and eventually forced the referee to stop the match at 3:0 for Feyenoord shortly after the start of the second half.
Police used tear gas against the ultras, and clashes continued outside the stadium in Amsterdam. A group of supporters tried to get back into the stadium, smashing the main entrance, and the police again had to intervene to push them back.
“It’s a dark day for football,” Ajax coach Maurice Steyn said.
The team are off to their worst start to a season since 1964/65, with just one win in four games so far. “Ajax” is in 14th place in the standings with 5 points, already 10 behind the leader PSV (Eindhoven).
Hours after the fan pogrom, the club sacked director of football affairs Sven Mislintat, who took over in May to replace Marc Overmars. Mislintat is being investigated for a conflict of interest due to the transfer of Borna Sosa for 8 million euros on the last day of the transfer window. The player was attracted by “Stuttgart”, but an agency that is a shareholder in a company owned by the director of “Ajax” worked on the transfer.
“There is clearly tension at the club, not only on the pitch but also in management,” a statement from the fans said.
According to media in the Netherlands, Mislintat appeared at an Ajax training session before the Feyenoord game and shouted at the players how it was the most important day and how coach Steyn would be sacked if they lost.
Interim Ajax chief executive Jan van Halst, who has also been criticized by fans, said the club was in dire straits.
“It’s a very difficult period. If only it were so easy to just push a button and turn things around,” Van Halst said.
The players of “Ajax” have only one victory in the Eredivisie since the beginning of the season
There have already been calls in the Netherlands for the club to appoint Louis van Gaal as coach, who was in charge of the team in the 1990s when they won three titles, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. However, the former coach hastened to reject such an option: “My health comes first.”
Van Gaal is battling prostate cancer and recently said that the only option to work as a coach again is only in charge of the national team.
The Dutch federation (KNVB) has yet to decide what punishment to impose on “Ajax” for the suspended match. Among the options is that the match will still be played without fans or outside Amsterdam. However, a forfeit and an additional 3 goals may be imposed.