Paid football start: less than a quarter of first division seats occupied

For months no league game has been played in Dutch professional football. Tonight that silence comes to an end when the Kitchen Champion Division starts.

There is room for 14,781 fans at most this football weekend at the home playing clubs, where normally 63,052 stadium seats could be filled. That comes down to an average occupancy of 23 percent.

That number is relatively low, as the current KNVB protocol leaves room for up to forty percent of stadium capacity to be used.

‘Two rounds of play as a test’

Marc Boele, director of the Kitchen Champion Division: “We really feel like playing again, but it has to be done safely. The next two rounds of play will be a test to see how the audience keeps up in the various stadiums, although we already had some experience with that during the series of friendly matches in recent weeks.”

The intention is to evaluate how everything goes after the first two rounds of play. “In the best case, the number of visitors can be increased more and more”, hopes Boele, who will follow the matches of ‘his’ first division on television.

The answers of the clubs to a survey by the CCeit show that there is a changing policy regarding the use of mouth caps and catering in the stadium.

Seven out of ten clubs state that wearing mouth caps is not an obligation for fans. Almere City and NAC advise their supporters to bring and wear a mouth mask as they move through the stadium. At De Graafschap, this is even compulsory, although they are allowed to wear it once fans are in their seats.

Order or pick up a fries?

At Cambuur the followers will have to get used to an adapted assortment and different walking routes to the kiosks than usual.

Dordtenaren in the Riwal Hoogwerkers Stadium can stay in their seats during the match. After ordering via a QR code their drink will be delivered in person by an employee.

Division between season ticket holders

At Jong FC Utrecht, Jong Ajax and Jong PSV, where spectator numbers are normally already a bit lower than elsewhere, one sees relatively few problems in this respect.

At De Herdgang (maximum 380 visitors), for example, there is a free sale via the webshop, while FC Utrecht season ticket holders can register at the sports complex Zoudenbalch.

on the basis of ‘first come, first served’

In Almere the 3000 season ticket holders can register online for the maximum of 880 spots in the stadium.

At De Graafschap, where a maximum of 3,350 seats can be filled and there are 5,200 season ticket holders, the choice has been made to always divide the permanent followers over two matches via reservation.

Tonight at 18.45 professional football kicks off with the game Jong FC Utrecht against FC Eindhoven. View the entire programme here.