This weekend, Club Brugge hosted and defeated Royal Antwerp in Belgium’s top soccer division. Presumably, this unremarkable feat should’ve inspired fans to calmly return to their homes afterwards. Instead, lots and lots of local Belgian and, bizarrely, foreign Dutch fans took to the streets and battled with police, flipped over a car, and generally caused so much mayhem that 120 of them were eventually arrested.
It’s hard to understand why exactly this match was chosen as the one in which so much shit went down. Club Brugge and Antwerp aren’t big rivals, and Brugge are already running away at the top of the table for a league title that Antwerp aren’t even in contention for. However, for some reason dozens of fans of Dutch team ADO Den Haag decided to crash the Brugge-Antwerp party, and it seems to have been the presence of these outsiders that instigated matters.
ADO Den Haag’s and Club Brugge’s supporter groups are and have long been close. For whatever reason, ADO fans picked the Antwerp game as the day to lend support to their buds in Bruges, with reports of many Dutchmen trying to sneak into the stadium for the match using forged tickets. It wasn’t until after the match, though, when the mix of rowdy Dutch and Belgian fans became volatile.
Here are some videos of the damage, as local riot police attempted to keep the various hooligan groups—the Brugge/ADO fans on one side, the Antwerp ones on another, and for reasons we can’t even guess at fans of another Dutch team, Willem II, out there too—who had gone out looking for a little of the old ultraviolence:
Belgian paper Het Nieuwsblad has more details of the incident:
“One hour after the match, fights broke out near Saint-Andries,” said police chief Dirk Van Nuffel, of the Bruges police department. Dozens of supporters of ADO Den Hague were involved in an incident in a cafe near the stadium. Some members of Brugge’s hardcore rushed to their aid. Eventually more than one hundred hooligans turned on the police. “There were hardcore supporter groups from ADO Den Hague and Willem II. Those two groups tried to fight each other but were separated by the police. On the way, the supporter groups aimed to damage trees, windows and other objects they met on their path. One car was flipped onto its roof and someone tried to light it on fire, though they were unsuccessful. The amount of eventual damage could not be definitively determined.”
Three people suffered serious injuries in the fights, including one police officer. These Euro hooligans really need to calm down.