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  • Writer's pictureJacob Dutkiewicz

Trigger-Happy Ex-Pro Burns Football Bridges after Violent Incident in Amateur League


The spotlight shines on the rise of violent conduct in football after former Eredivisie star gets indefinite suspension from his amateur club for punching an opposition player.


Mark-Jan Fledderus agreed to a contract with vv-HSC, a Sunday league club playing in the Vierde Klasse (4th tier) of Dutch football. It was supposed to be the story of a grizzled football veteran pulling his local amateur team out of the clutches of relegation.

 

Coming back after being dispossessed in the opposition penalty box, Fledderus suddenly threw a punch at ODV midfielder Tijs Welfing. The punch connected, which led to a short scuffle between the two teams. However, Fledderus’ offence was not punished as the referee did not see the incident.


Top-down trends


Joey Wolsink, an expert in football violence and hooliganism observed that football associated violence has been on the rise ever since stadiums have been reopened in the post-corona era.

 

“Between the 2014/2015 and 2018/2019 seasons, football violence actually decreased. But this led to neglect in security policies and now we see the effects of that.”

 

Already this season, multiple Eredivisie matches have been suspended due to hooliganism and violence outbreaks. This season’s De Klassieker (Ajax v. Feyenoord) had to be concluded behind closed doors after incessant disturbances from Ajax fans.

 

Most recently, this Sunday’s match between Heerenveen and AZ Alkmaar featured a 20-minute suspension after smoke bombs were thrown onto the pitch and fans clashed in the stands.

 

Wolsink conceded that the violence that football players witness and sometimes are a part of in their football matches could make its way down to the amateur pitch. After all, amateur players are more often than not avid football fans.


A fall from grace


Although HSC secured the crucial three points and are as of now outside of the relegation zone, the victory was made all the less sweet by an incident in the 65th minute of Fledderus’ first match for his club.

 

The match was, unfortunately for Fledderus, recorded and the video quickly circulated on social media, raising a bit of an uproar about the conduct of a once-professional player in an amateur’s game.  

 

This resulted in Fledderus’ suspension from the club and an official apology from both the club and the player.

 

Although Fledderus attributed his outburst to his “temperament” and “fanaticism” and stated that these sorts of incidents “just happen on a football pitch,” evidence suggests that the frequency with which they occur is on the rise.

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