Extras of stadium disaster exercise ‘too realistic’

11th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

An exercise to practice emergency procedures in a football stadium in Groningen was cancelled when the ‘football hooligans’ hurled stones at the riot police.

Groningen – A major exercise to practice emergency procedures in the Euroborg stadium, home to football club FC Groningen got out of hand on Tuesday evening.

A group of extras playing the role of football hooligans became “too convincing” where they started hurling stones at the riot police instead of tennis balls as originally planned, said police.

 “The exercise got a bit too realistic,” observed a spokesperson for the Groningen emergency services. The simulation was put to a stop by the organisers.

Instead of hurling tennis balls at the riot police as arranged, the hired ‘hooligans’ began throwing stones. The organisers then decided to put a stop to the simulation.

The exercise in the northern city of Groningen was prompted by an incident in April 2008, which revealed shortcomings in the football ground’s capacity to deal with emergencies.

A series of small fires started in thousands of toilet paper rolls that Groningen fans were throwing onto the pitch before Sunday's match, and they quickly spread to the plastic seating in one of the two-year-old ground's stands. The FC Groningen's league match with Ajax had to be postponed.

One of the recommendations that came out of the investigation was that regular drills should be held to practice coordination between the emergency services.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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