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The staafincident (Dutch, "rod incident") was a very serious case of Football hooliganism which took place 27 September 1989 in the De Meer Stadion of Dutch football club Ajax Amsterdam. During a home match against Austria Wien the Austrian goalkeeper Franz Wohlfahrt was struck by a metal rod which was launched onto the pitch by the Ajax hooligan firm F-side. Ajax conceded the match regulatory and as a result were excluded from competing in European football for a year.

Earlier that year, Ajax chairman Ton Harmsen was succeeded by Michael van Praag, the son of Harmsen's predecessor Jaap van Praag. Under the initiative of the new chairman, popular Dutch celebrities would accompany the team on match days, in order to promote fair play as public speakers. After Frank Masmeijer and Harry Slinger had previously accompanied the team on a match, it was Dutch comedian Freek de Jonge's turn during the UEFA Cup match between Ajax and Austria Wien. Ajax had already lost the away match against Austria Wien 1–0 and therefore would need at least 1–0 victory at home. At the time of the match Austria were in the news regarding the war history of the countries president at the time Kurt Waldheim, during World War II, where he was involved in deportations and actions against partisans, which he had concealed in his autobiography.

Phonecall for Waldheim[edit]

Freek De Jonge started the evening as a host with an innocent joke about Ajax defender Danny Blind, before the second half of the match he staged a phone call to Mr. Waldheim, who was invited by Simon Wiesenthal to call back. After 90'-minutes of play Ajax were up 1–0, but during extra time Austria Wien were able to equalize which would ultimately lead to the ejection of Ajax. The hooligan firm F-side of Ajax began to chant: "Nazi's! Nazi's!",[1] and 17-year-old Ajax-supporter Gerald M.[2] launched a metal rod onto the pitch, out of the stands which would inevitably hit Austria Wien keeper Franz Wohlfahrt in the back, after which the match was halted at a score of 1–1. The next day De Jonge expressed to the press his regret in making his comments, but denied any responsibility for the actions that occurred in the stadium henceforth.[3] According to Nico Scheepmaker, De Jonge had gone too far, following his previous comments on the Hillsborough disaster as well as the 1977 Dutch school hostage crisis.[4]


Ajax lost the home match by default with a score line of 3–0 after the actions that took place, and were subsequently banned from competing in European football for two years due to the incident (1990–1992). Ajax challenged the last ruling of UEFA. Upon which the punishment was reduced to 1-year (1990–1991) and Ajax had to play the next three european home matches 200 km away from Amsterdam. The appeal committee had used the reprehensible behavior of Freek de Jonge weigh in on the decision to lighten the punishment.[5] With the damage Ajax had received from the thrower of the bar, an arrangement was made after he was sentenced to pay a half a million dollars plus 15 thousand guilders costs in 1996.[6] Gerald M. was arrested a few days after the incident and was sentenced in late 1989 by the police to five months in prison, and two months probation. After serving his sentence, he asked for a season at Ajax of which he was denied.[7]

The rod incident made clear that the safety at the De Meer Stadion was hopelessly outdated, and it indirectly influenced the club's decision to build the Amsterdam Arena.


  1. ^ Onkenhout, Paul (March 2, 2002). "Ed de Goey als minister van Binnenlandse Zaken". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). 
  2. ^ Niet zijn werkelijke naam; zie Staafgooier bij Ajax – Austria Wien spreekt door Hans Janssen, op 30 oktober 2006 (eerder verschenen in De Ajacied 2004).
  3. ^ De Jonge: 'Spijt van opmerking' Leeuwarder Courant 29 September 1989
  4. ^ Potje mosterd Leeuwarder Courant 28 September 1989; in zijn Trijfel-column verwart Scheepmaker de gijzeling in Bovensmilde met de treinkaping bij De Punt
  5. ^ Ajax op vriendschappelijke toer in cuploos seizoen Leeuwarder Courant 14 oktober 1989
  6. ^ Het staafincident, een zwarte dag voor Ajax de Volkskrant 2 November 2006
  7. ^ Staafgooier Ajax - Austria Wien hoopt op baan bij Ajax door Hans Janssen, op 31 oktober 2006 (eerder verschenen in De Ajacied 2004).