Go Ahead Eagles' security organisation responded effectively to fans running onto field

Published on 15 June 2018

Today, the Audit Team Football and Safety, in collaboration with Berenschot, published an incident analysis of the Go Ahead Eagles – De Graafschap football match held on 4 March. After the end of the match, a handful of Go Ahead Eagles fans ran onto the field and attacked De Graafschap's players. However, the security organisation before, during and after the match was well-organised and acted quickly and decisively as a result of which the incident did not escalate any further and, in particular, was quickly over.

The objective of the investigation initiated by the Audit Team Football and Safety was to learn from this type of incident. In addition, they wanted to come up with proposals for preventing similar incidents in the future for this and other paid football organisations.

The key conclusions from this investigation were as follows:

  • With a view to the history of the matches between both clubs, preparations for the match were extensive and sound, with solid mutual agreements, which were adhered to by all involved parties. Nevertheless, the scenario involving fans running onto the field had not been discussed and no specific measures to prevent this had been taken.
  • The location of the section with away fans adjacent to a section with hard core Go Ahead Eagles fans is less than ideal. This makes it easier for provocations to occur. This caused tensions to increase between hard core fans and the fans in the away section.
  • Despite the body search of 100% of the fans before the match, a great deal of fireworks was set off in the hard core fans section, which to a large extent contributed to the mounting tensions.
  • The key recommendation from the investigation is that it is necessary to provide for sufficient separation and eliminate the direct lines of sight between the away section and the hard core section. Furthermore, there should be more action locally and nationally to prevent fireworks from being set off. Working on structural relationships and good communication with fans is essential in this respect.

About the Audit Team Football and Safety

The Audit Team Football and Safety advises organisations on tackling hooliganism and football-related violence, and studies violence and security in (paid) football in the Netherlands. These organisations include municipalities, police, the Public Prosecution Service, professional clubs and the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB).

Vincent van der Vlies

Vincent van der Vlies

Managing consultant