Following the called off cup match between Ajax – AZ (1-0), AZ, Ajax, and KNVB management gathered in the press room to address the issue. The cup match in the Amsterdam ArenA was called off after 37 minutes after a supporter attacked AZ keeper Esteban. The keeper reacted by kicking back, and received a red card, in accordance with the regulations.
Ajax’s financial director Jeroen Slop reacted afterwards as follows: “This is a terrible incident which we deeply regret. We offer our sincere apologies. The supporter has been handed over to the police. It’s clear that the concerned person is a 19 year old man who was most likely under the influence of alcohol. He has said that he strongly dislikes AZ’s keeper, and therefore attacked him.”
Slop continues: “Of course, it’s absolutely ridiculous and we are investigating if he’s known to us. If he is, then he will not be eligible for Ajax season tickets for the rest of his life. But it doesn’t really matter if he’s known to us, or not. We find this deplorable and will make sure that this young man is aware of that.”
AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek reacted to the incident by pulling his team off the field. According to the AZ coach, he was concerned for his players’ safety. Slop: “Ajax offered at that time to place extra stewards around the filed to ensure everyone’s safety and to be able to continue the match. But that didn’t play a relevant part in AZ’s decision.”
It’s now up the KNVB to decide what will happen with the match. There are three options: continuing it, playing it over, or considering the 1-0 score as the final one. The KNVB will make a decision once the reports from all concerned parties have been received, and have been evaluated with the professional football prosecutor. The prosecutor must establish whether there is blame, in order for the professional football board to be able to make a decision. KNVB director Bert van Oostveen expects the report before Christmas. In any case, the match will not be continued in 2011, the KNVB said.