Behind Closed Doors (football)

The term "Behind Closed Doors" is used in several sports, primarily association football, to describe matches played where spectators are not allowed in the stadium to watch. The reasons for this may include punishment for a team found guilty of a certain act in the past, stadium safety issues or to prevent potentially dangerous clashes between rival supporters.Closed doors game are typically used for players who are not playing first team football or are returning from injury.

1980–81 European Cup Winners' Cup

After rioting by fans in the first leg against Castilla in Spain, West Ham United were forced to play the second leg at Upton Park in October 1980 to an empty stadium.[1]

2007 Italian Football

As a result of a policeman being killed during rioting at a Serie A match between Catania and Palermo on 2 February, the Italian Football Federation suspended all Italian matches indefinitely. Subsequently, matches resumed but many clubs were ordered to play their games behind closed doors until their stadiums met with updated security regulations.

2009 Italian Football

Juventus were ordered to play a home game behind closed doors after their fans had racially abused Internazionale striker Mario Balotelli during a 1-1 Serie A draw in April 2009.[2]

2009-10 UEFA Europa League

FC Dinamo Bucureşti had to play two home games in European competitions behind closed doors after their match against FC Slovan Liberec on 25 August 2009 was abandoned in the 88th minute due to a pitch invasion by Dinamo fans.

2009 Mexico Clausura

During the penultimate round of league games all teams had to play with closed doors due to the H1N1 swine flu outbreak in infected cities. Several games taking place in areas which were badly affected by the outbreak were also played behind closed doors the following week.

2010–11 Heineken Cup

In rugby union, the 2010–11 Heineken Cup pool stage match between Edinburgh and Castres at Murrayfield was played behind closed doors on 20 December 2010. The match was originally scheduled for 19 December, but was postponed due to heavy snow in Edinburgh that covered the pitch and created major access issues for potential spectators. The competition organiser, European Rugby Cup, decided to hold the rescheduled match behind closed doors to remove any possible danger to spectators attempting to travel to the match.[3]

Turkish football in 2011–12

Starting with the 2011-12 season, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) instituted a modified version of this rule. The penalty for a team sanctioned for crowd violence is now a ban on both ticket sales to, and attendance by, males over age 12 (as spectators). Women, and children under age 12 of either sex, are admitted free. The first game under the new rule took place on 20 September 2011, when Fenerbahçe hosted Manisaspor at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul. Over 41,000 women and children attended the match (plus a small number of men who had sneaked into the stadium). The experiment was so successful that the TFF planned to require that teams allocate an unspecified number of free tickets for women and children at all future club matches.[4] Shortly thereafter, the TFF stated that it would reimburse clubs for free tickets given to women and children for regular league games (i.e., games not subject to crowd restrictions), and increased the upper age limit for "children" for the purposes of free ticketing to 15.[5]

Ajax–AZ, 2011–12 KNVB Cup

A match between Eredivisie clubs Ajax and AZ in the fourth round of the 2011–12 KNVB Cup was replayed behind closed doors at Ajax's home ground, Amsterdam Arena, on 19 January 2012. In the original match, held at the same venue on 21 December 2011, Ajax held a 1–0 lead when a fan ran onto the pitch and launched a karate kick from behind against AZ goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado. The player responded by kicking the fan several times before security arrived. When Alvarado was sent off for retaliating against his attacker, AZ left the pitch, and the match was abandoned. The KNVB rescinded the red card, ordered the match replayed in its entirety, and fined Ajax €10,000 for failing to prevent the fan—who was supposed to be serving a 3-year stadium ban—from entering the pitch. Ajax accepted the penalties, and announced that it had given the fan a 30-year stadium ban and a lifetime ban from the club and its season ticket list.[6]

Notes and references

External links

  • Juventus game behind closed doors
  • Atalanta game behind closed doors
  • Italian football to be played behind closed doors?
  • Play games behind closed doors
  • Italy backs closed-doors football
  • Turkey must play behind closed doors after fight
  • Dinamo handed default defeat

See also

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