Yesterday evening saw the last day of play in the Belgian top flight this season. The new champions Club Brugge played a home game against KRC Genk. A big crowd was waiting for the players after the game, just north of the Jan Breydel stadium in the Bruges municipality of Sint-Andries. When the players and staff appeared on stage, the party exploded.
The mass gathering and the fact that many were not wearing a mouth mask were going against every corona rule. The club had insisted to stage at least a small event, to avoid that fans would start a major party of their own - and maybe organise various events on their own in different locations. The local authorities and the police eventually agreed to a modest champions' celebration.
Mayor De fauw: "Better this than a new La Boum"
A large number of police officers were present to keep an eye on things, but the event triggered a lot of criticism. "Better an organised event than a new La Boum", the Bruges mayor Dirk De fauw told defended his choice (La Boum is the illegal party in the Brussels Terkameren park that ran completely out of hand). "Various fan groups had announced they would come to the stadium anyway. So we decided to take measures."
FC Bruges skipper Ruud Vormer defended his club's fans, saying they need something to share and show their emotions in times of corona.
De fauw defends the fact that police didn't intervene: "You reach nothing by using police violence." The party was short-lived: the peace returned to the streets of Sint-Andries around 10:30 in the evening.