Alkmaarders will see many football supporters and therefore also the police in their city center tomorrow. AZ plays a match against the English West Ham United in the evening. Supporters of the clubs get their own again fan zone. It turns out to be necessary: in previous high-risk matches, the police’s mobile unit had to intervene several times against confrontations.
According to a spokesman for the municipality, they will come tomorrow with about 1,000 men on Ascension Day from London, England, towards Alkmaar. The return of the semi-final of the Conference League will start there at 9 p.m. in the stadium.
AZ- West Ham United is a so-called risk match. There is rivalry between the supporters of the clubs and in order to prevent violent confrontations, the authorities are once again trying to keep these groups apart as much as possible. How do they do that?
“Based on information analyses, we determine the deployment,” a police spokesman told NH. “It comes from various partners, such as football associations, AZ and our own information. There is a Staff Large-Scale Special Action (SGBO) active, with people from different police departments.”
So tomorrow in the center you will see people from the mobile unit with protective equipment, officers on horseback, lots of vans and vehicles with dogs. The supporters of AZ are allowed to come to the Waagplein and the Platte Stenenbrug, the English only to the Paardenmarkt.
Fans of AZ at Waagplein and Verdronkenoord
Supporters of the Alkmaar club should gather around the catering industry on the Waagplein and the Platte Stenenbrug. After 7 p.m., the fanatical supporters of AZ will pick up the bus with players welcome between the viaduct over the A9 and the Kooimeerplein.
West Ham United fans at the Paardenmarkt
On the Paardenmarkt from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m fan zone set up for English supporters, with local catering establishments, food and ‘entertainment’. An hour before the match they are taken to the stadium by buses.
Exactly how many agents will be on the scene is never announced in advance. “Releasing this information can lead to calculating behavior and therefore has an effect on the safety and order of and around future football matches.”
Images surrounding the match against Apollon Limassol of Cyprus last year give you an impression of the number of agents.
“ME officers come from basic police care, among other things, and sometimes they work for other disciplines of the police. So if they are deployed as ME officers, they cannot be deployed for their regular task. This must be completed by other colleagues, or that work will not be done. It also means that different employees will be working extra hours.”
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It has turned out to be very necessary to use the ME in Alkmaar for high-risk competitions. For example, there was still a threat of confrontations between supporters around the match against the Italian Lazio Roma in March of this year. Before the duel on Long Streetlate at night somewhere else downtown.
The police say about this: “Twice the ME was able to prevent supporter groups from both clubs from seeking confrontation. We can therefore conclude that it is good that we have taken measures.”
Another five people were arrested that day for possession of fireworks. According to the police, these were supporters of Cambuur – in the football world, supporters of that club are ‘friends with’ the fanatical group of AZ supporters.
Flyer for the English
A flyer distributed among London football supporters states that the places where AZ fans are will be ‘forbidden’ for them tomorrow. Like carrying fireworks. It is also ‘not the intention’ that they are under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“Insulting the police will not be tolerated”, can be read. The free buses that leave for the stadium around eight are ‘mandatory’ for West Ham fans to take. In the flyer the text ends with: “The day will be incident-free if everybody complies. Have a nice stay in Alkmaar and enjoy the match.”
AZ – security and stewards – is responsible for safety in the stadium. The police are only called in when things really escalate.
AZ fans evacuated from London stands
During the West Ham United – AZ match (so a game in London) last week, part of the stands in the stadium were evacuated because there was a ‘grim atmosphere’ after the 0-1 for AZ. Apparently Alkmaarders were placed in a section close to the home team and were threatened.
AZ then informed NH that this incident would not continue wanting to “blow up”. Such a situation does not seem to be an issue at the return in Alkmaar: the municipality communicates about this to the English: “Foreign supporters found in a section other than the visitors’ section will be removed from the stadium.”