Ajax, Feyenoord face Sunday crunch clash

November 9, 2007

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, Nov 9 (Reuters) - A potentially explosive game between arch-rivals Feyenoord and Ajax Amsterdam on Sunday will decide which team tops the Dutch table going into the international break.

It will also test whether the clubs have managed to control the violence and ill feeling that has dogged the fixture in recent years.

'There are limits to what we consider acceptable,' the clubs said in a joint statement.

'Healthy rivalry is beautiful and belongs to this match. Fans can support their team several ways but chants referring to the persecution of Jews or the bombing of Rotterdam (during World War Two) will not be tolerated.'

Rival supporters have a violent history stretching back three decades, the low point coming with the death of two Ajax hooligans who were killed during a clash in a meadow near Beverwijk in 1997.

The clubs say insulting banners will be confiscated at the entrances and that several cameras will monitor where any abusive or insulting chants start in the crowd.

They have both also said that if the rules are broken, they could decide to ban visiting fans for five years.

With 24 points from 10 matches Ajax are top on goal difference from Feyenoord, who have staged a comeback after finishing seventh in the first division last season.

Ajax, managed by Adrie Koster who succeeded Henk ten Cate after he left for Chelsea, will still be missing Edgar Davids, who broke his shinbone before the start of the season.

Brazilian winger Leonardo, who joined the Feyenoord youth department as a teenager, is sidelined with a knee injury but international Urby Emanuelson returned to training this week after knee problems.

Ajax made a struggling start to the season with an early exit from the UEFA Cup after Slavia Prague kept them out of the Champions League group stage. But they have scored 31 goals in 10 domestic games with Klaas Jan Huntelaar scoring 11 and Luis Suarez seven.

Feyenoord, who have won eight and lost two, have been mean at the back with seven clean sheets so far after conceding 66 goals in 34 matches last season.

Feyenoord will be without attacking midfielder Nicky Hofs, who has a knee injury but will welcome back winger Andwele Slory, who made his debut in the first match of the season but then suffered a foot injury.