First football match with public not yet sold out: ‘It is not going fast’

“Some people may find the conditions and measures too much of a hassle”, says Luc te Riele, manager Social Affairs and Supporters at football club NEC. His club will play against De Graafschap on Sunday and for the first time since October, there may be an audience again.

Does not rush

It is a test event, in which it is examined whether and how it is possible to organize events with the public again soon, such as a football match or concert.

While there was a storm with registrations for other test events (including a dance party, concert and pop festival), this is not yet the case with Sunday’s football match. There is room for 1500 people in the stadium on Sunday, but so far there are less than 1000 registrations.

In the first instance, it is the turn of season ticket holders to register. “The match is not sold out yet”, says Te Riele, “and I don’t know if that will happen. But even if we have less audience than those 1500 people, we can research safe forms of football matches with an audience.”

Test twice

Te Riele thinks that the measures are a bridge too far for some supporters. Football fans who want to attend the match in the stadium must meet a number of conditions:

  • They have to a PCR test no more than 48 hours prior to the competition to do. Only negative test takers are allowed to participate.
  • Vulnerable groups are not allowed to participate to the test event
  • Upon entry one temperature measurement and health check based on questions. If the temperature is too high, that person will not be allowed in.
  • Five days after the event another PCR test
  • Also, participants in the test event are advised to stay up to ten days after the competition avoid contact with people from the risk groups, or until the PCR test is negative five days after the competition.

All this together can be a barrier for supporters, Te Riele thinks. “Some people find it a lot to test twice and it can be difficult if you have someone with a vulnerable health in your environment.”

Enjoy watching at home

There is also another possible explanation for the fact that the tickets are not sold out yet. “The game will also be broadcast live on Sunday. Maybe people think: I’m watching it at home with my family.”

The supporters who want to be there on Sunday all have to download an app in advance. They receive information about the course of the afternoon and can make an appointment for a PCR test.

Motion sensor

When they arrive at the stadium, they all receive a motion sensor, so that it is clear afterwards exactly how much contact they have had with each other and where they have run.

The participants are divided into six different ‘bubbles’, in which the audience is portrayed in different ways. Each group has different rules and possibilities. All ‘bubbles’ have their own entrance and private toilet area, the audience from one bubble does not come into contact with that from another bubble.

‘Still 1500 men’

A spokesperson for Fieldlab, the organization that rolls out the test events, tells RTL News to expect that just 1500 people will be in the stadium on Sunday.

“We started with the season ticket holders, but if we don’t reach 1500 people that way, we can also give other football fans the opportunity to sign up.”

With 500 people in a theater

Earlier this week, experiments were already conducted with another trial event. In Utrecht 500 people gathered for a conference. And that took some getting used to, as you can see in the video below:


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