Police detain 22 ahead of Feyenoord-Roma Europa League clash
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Tensions between Feyenoord and Roma supporters led to the detention of 17 locals and five Italians before the highly charged Europa League match on Thursday.
Twice the match was briefly suspended in the second half after fans threw objects onto the pitch.
Referee Clement Turpin took the teams off at Feyenoord’s De Kuip Stadium shortly after Feyenoord fans reacted angrily to the sending off of defender Mitchell Te Vrede. Earlier, the French ref also stopped play when an inflatable banana was thrown toward the pitch.
Feyenoord captain Jordy Clasie criticized Turpin, saying his team played against Roma “and the referee.” Feyenoord lost 2-1 and was knocked out of the Europa League 3-2 on aggregate in the round of 32.
Feyenoord coach Fred Rutten said he did not believe racism was at play when the banana was thrown.
“There is such a fuss made about it. I don’t see it that way,” he said.
“We have different nationalities in our team. It’s nonsense. We make too much of it.”
But he criticized Feyenoord fans for throwing objects onto the pitch.
“Those sorts of things only hurt Feyenoord,” Rutten said. “It’s a shame it happened.”
Police spokesman Gijs van Nimwegen said that before the match fans were held for a variety of offenses, including fighting, possession of fireworks, and not following police orders. He said two people were found to be carrying knives, but could not say what nationality they were.
“It has been very busy for the police,” Van Nimwegen said. “We have put a lot of energy into stopping fights. ... If we had done nothing, there could have been a lot of fighting.”
Police were bent on avoiding a repeat of last week’s violence in Rome, where Feyenoord fans rioted before the first leg, clashing with police, damaging a recently renovated fountain, and leaving part of the city’s historic center strewn with beer cans and smashed bottles. The match ended 1-1, setting up the tense return leg.
Police estimated about 2,700 Roma fans would travel to Rotterdam for the match at 50,000-seat De Kuip Stadium. A small number of Italian police who know the Roma fans were to be on hand to help their Dutch counterparts identify possible hooligans.
Van Nimwegen said 83 Roma fans were denied entry into Amsterdam, and when they arrived in Rotterdam in two buses they were taken to a police station near the stadium and then taken directly to the stadium.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb drafted an emergency order that police could invoke if hooligans begin rioting, giving police enhanced powers to detain fans and eject them from the city.
Roma fans gathered around the city’s historic old harbor and were kept segregated from Feyenoord fans. Buses then transported them to the stadium ahead of the match.
Dutch authorities have said they will support private fundraising initiatives aimed at helping to pay for the repair of the 400-year-old Fountain of the Barcaccia that was damaged last week in Rome.
Aboutaleb says the hooligans responsible for the damage should ultimately be prosecuted and made to foot the bill.