Rotterdam gears up for AS Roma football fans
After last weeks riots involving Feyenoord fans in Rome, Rotterdam is gearing up for Thursday’s return leg.
Some 2,500 AS Roma fans are expected to come to the port city for the key tie in the round of 32 of the Europa League.
According to the AD, many of those coming to Rotterdam belong to the hard-core group of supporters and there are fears they make take revenge for the Rome riots.
Emergency police powers are being prepared which, if signed by mayor Achmed Aboutleb, will allow the police free reign to restore order at signs of trouble, the AD says.
Café owners in the Oude Haven have already said they will be closed on Thursday afternoon to avoid trouble. They are unhappy that their part of town has been designated a ‘fan zone’ for the AS Roma supporters.
Because many supporters are also expected to visit Amsterdam, direct train services will operate between Amsterdam and De Kuip football stadium.
It is still unclear who will pick up the bill for the damage in Rome, in particular to the newly restored 17th century Barcaccia fountain close to the Spanish Steps.
Former Dutch minister Hans Wiegel says in a letter in Trouw on Tuesday that private initiatives in the Netherlands to raise money have ‘got it right’. ‘Now the government, Rotterdam and Feyenoord,’ he said.
Feyenoord chairman Eric Gudde has written to AS Roma’s American owner James Pallotta and the club’s board to express how embarrassed he is about the behaviour of Feyenoord fans last week.
Many of those involved had been banned from attending matches or were unknown to the club ‘and we want nothing whatsoever to do with them’, he said.
‘As an experienced professional football club with a great reputation, we hope you can understand the fact that it is almost impossible for us to take responsibility for people who are not connected to the club at all,’ the Telegraaf quotes the letter as saying.