Ajax match postponed after fans start fires

April 13, 2008

ARNHEM, the Netherlands, April 13 (Reuters) - The Dutch league match between Groningen and Ajax Amsterdam was postponed on Sunday after fans set fire to paper in the stands.

One person was slightly injured by burns, three others were taken to hospital for checks and a total of 19 people were treated for smoke inhalation, a spokesman for Groningen police said.

The match, which had been due to kick off at 1230 GMT, was called off after fans spilled on to the pitch to escape the smoke.

'The clubs' medical staff thought it was irresponsible to continue with the game,' Groningen coach Ron Jans was quoted as saying in a statement issued by Ajax.

Firefighters put out all fires and the stadium was evacuated, the police spokesman added.

The Dutch football association (KNVB) said later on Sunday that the match would now be played on Wednesday at 1830 GMT.

Second-placed Ajax are six points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven. If the Amsterdam side failed to beat Groningen, PSV would clinch their fourth successive league title.