Dutch to trial 5,000 attendance for Latvian World Cup qualifier

March 18 – The Netherlands will allow 5,000 fans to attend their World Cup qualifier against Latvia as part of a study, the Dutch FA (KNVB) has announced.

The Dutch host Latvia on March 27 on the road to the Qatar 2022 World Cup and will do so in front of 5,000 fans at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, with spectators seated into different sections. Some will have to wear face masks,  but others will be allowed to put their masks aside and encourage the team. Fans will however have to present a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed to enter the stadium

“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 KNVB general secretary Gijs de Jong. “If they are negative, they can show that with an app at the stadium and they can enter them in combination with their match ticket. This is a way it could also work with the clubs (in the Dutch league) and the European Championship.”

The experiment is part of research by Fieldlabs in partnership with the Dutch government. Last month similar tests were undertaken at domestic games in the Netherlands with around 1,300 fans attending.

“We are all really looking forward to this,” said Dutch head coach Frank De Boer. “We do not want to play in front of empty stands, but play for fans. Let’s hope that this is the first step and that we can welcome even more people during the European Championship.”

Amsterdam is due to stage three first-round matches and a round of 16 game at Euro 2020, but UEFA are still to take a final decision on the format of this summer’s finals.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kent, at moc.l1638842439labto1638842439ofdlr1638842439owedi1638842439sni@o1638842439fni1638842439