Not the referees, but supporters will give the first whistle at the matches in the Eredivisie next weekend. Each home club chooses one supporter who may blow the first whistle along the line. With this, the Eredivisie is celebrating that for the first time in more than 1.5 years, the stadiums can be completely full again.
“We all had to wait a long time to get back to full capacity,” said Jan de Jong and Marc Boele, the directors of the Eredivisie CV (ECV) and the Coöperatie Eerste Divisie (CED), respectively. “That is why we thought it would be nice to let the fans take care of the first whistle. We hope that the weather will be just as atmospheric in the stands as it was before the corona period.” In the Kitchen Champion Division, supporters can start the matches next Friday.
From Saturday, the one and a half meter rule will no longer be in force and football clubs can use the full capacity of their stadiums again. All visitors must have a corona ticket. In the first weeks of this season, the clubs were allowed to use two-thirds of the capacity of their stadiums. Last season almost all matches were played in front of empty stands.
The ECV and the CED have asked the clubs to each choose a supporter they think deserves to blow the first whistle. “All the spotlights are on him or her before the game,” says a spokesperson for the Eredivisie. “There is a countdown to the kick-off and that person then whistles the match.”