Door ajar for cup final with fans, KNVB wants audience in final rounds

Outgoing minister Hugo de Jonge does not rule out the possibility that an audience may be present in De Kuip at the final of the TOTO KNVB Cup tournament on 18 April. The KNVB hopes that from May, rapid tests can be used at all clubs to partially fill the stadiums again.

“I do not want to anticipate that, but it could be”, said De Jonge on Tuesday evening during the corona press conference when asked whether spectators may be present at the cup final between Ajax and Vitesse.

With the current package of measures, which was extended on Tuesday until April 20, no spectators are allowed at sports matches. Postponing the cup final on April 18 to a later date is not an option for the KNVB.

The football association still has a glimmer of hope. Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte also said at the press conference that the RIVM models about the course of the corona virus contain major uncertainties.

“That means that it can be disappointing, but also not so bad,” said Rutte. “If in a week it turns out that the figures are better than expected, then we can and will act quickly. We look very broadly at all sectors.”

KNVB is ready for quick tests in professional football

Another option is to allow the public to enter the cup final with access tests. “We are now making a calendar of things that may be possible in April,” said De Jonge, who did not want to indicate whether the cup final would be in between. “We will not present the calendar until it is completely finished.”

From May, it will be possible to work with speed and access tests at events on a large scale, De Jonge announced. The KNVB reported on Tuesday evening that it was ready for this.

“The last four rounds of play in the Eredivisie and the last three in the Eerste Divisie and the play-offs can then be played with a (limited) audience,” writes the KNVB. “Never before has such a concrete and positive perspective been offered.”

‘Field lab experiments have been quite successful’

Fieldlab recently tested with more than a thousand spectators in two duels in the Kitchen Champion Division. Next Sunday, Fieldlab will test with five thousand fans at the international match between the Netherlands and Latvia in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

“The experiments have been quite successful”, De Jonge said. “A test consortium is currently building 100 test lanes from the ground. From April onwards, 100,000 tests can be carried out in them.”

With the lessons from Fieldlab, the government hopes to make more events possible in the near future. De Jonge: “There will not be a dance festival every day, but we are trying to make a few smaller things possible by April.”
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