Being a football supporter is also a way of life. While it is not yet known when the season ticket for the favorite football club has value, the subscriptions for the new season are flying over the digital counter. That says something about the character of professional football and about the supporter.
Support means to support or, as another meaning indicates, keep alive. That is what supporters participate in. Keeping their favorite club alive, even now that the KNVB is going to Minister Van Rijn of Medical Care and Sport on Friday to explain the ‘rescue plan’ for the sector and to draw on millions of government support. The KNVB can point to the social interest that cannot be expressed in monetary terms, which was snowed under by quarrels during the corona crisis, which arose in the chaos of the competition that had been cut short.
Paid football is an anchor in the social life of many, with around 200,000 visitors in the stadiums every week, millions of followers in the media, and ongoing discussion at the village pump. Few supporters asked for money back from missed duels this season, and many extended their season tickets. Ajax is approaching 30 thousand, with the addition that supporters will get 1/17 part back at every match without an audience next season.
At Feyenoord (more than 13 thousand after less than a week), sales are progressing faster than in the past ten years, with the choice in season tickets between full support or regular. Full support is the season ticket without restrictions. Just pay, without knowing when the public is welcome. With ‘regular’ supporters get a part of the money back if there are matches without spectators. PSV is already at more than 10 thousand renewals after a week and the number of new applications is higher than the number of cancellations. Most clubs are doing very well with the subscriptions. Everywhere there are plans to bring football to the new normal.
Thus, football is visible even if it is invisible. Numerous promotions have been held by clubs and players, from gymnastics for the elderly in nursing homes to telephone sessions. Football is aware of its role in society but is normally not for sale. Now that the game has stopped, there is time left, while angling for sympathy can never hurt in difficult times.
Football also had to find its new rhythm, after Prime Minister Rutte’s announcement that all licensed events are prohibited until September 1. Before that, some clubs had already indicated that they would rather stop the competition, for reasons of their own. Politics in The Hague looked at the complications with astonishment. It was not that difficult to break the league and not allow a restart as in Germany.
Football without an audience could have been best now. Then all those arguments about the outcome would have been unnecessary. Partly due to the lack of solidarity in recent months, the image is quite bad. A group of footballers, at least in the premier league, receive royal salaries. That criticism of payments is understandable, but not always justified.
Player salaries are determined by the market, which also depends on international developments in higher-income countries. Good footballers are scarce, their careers end relatively quickly. But it is tempting for critics to say: Heerenveen’s legal half earns more than Minister Van Rijn. Why should Van Rijn and the rest of the Netherlands show compassion for football? Put like this, every discussion is ready immediately.