Ajax, Dutch football stadiums to allow fans from September

League football in the Netherlands will resume in September with 15 to 35% of the stadium available for spectators but with no away supporters allowed, the Dutch football association (KNVB) said on Thursday.

The KNVB issued an 80-page document detailing protocols for a return to action, after the previous season was called off because of the novel coronavirus health crisis.

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Spectators will have to stay 1.5 metres apart, bring masks and buy a drink from roving sellers rather than queuing at kiosks.

"To create the necessary space for this, only a limited part of the seats in a stadium can be used," the KNVB said. "The good news, however, is that playing with a limited audience is a first step towards playing with packed stadiums. It is therefore only a stopover.

"The intention is, of course, that as soon as possible we will be able to play again in full stadiums. Nothing is more beautiful than when both teams are encouraged by their supporters. Unfortunately, this is not yet possible."

Dutch football was shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis in March with football initially banned until September but this was lifted last month by the government.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a ban on singing or chanting by fans at the end of last month, yet mayors of various Dutch cities have warned it would be difficult to enforce.

The KNVB said on Thursday they would only be able to provide clarity on stadium singing just before the start of the new season in September.