Almost 130 days after the collapse of its roof, AFAS Stadion is open once more. To mark the occasion, AZ Alkmaar managed to defeat Ajax Amsterdam and tie at the very top of Eredivisie. Now they're about to play until May without a roof.
The game was sold out long in advance, just as one would expect. Not only is AZ in good form, not only was Ajax Amsterdam the rival, but on Sunday AZ was playing at home for the first time since the infamous roof collapse of August 10.
Until early December it wasn't entirely sure the stadium would be greenlighted for mass use. The city hired external constructors to evaluate the situation, while independent consultants commissioned by AZ Alkmaar guaranteed the measures taken are sufficient.
You may recall, roof over three grandstands was dismantled entirely, while the main stand got its cover halved. Floodlight masts had to be removed along with the roof, only to be put back in place in early December.
As it turns out, not only is the structure safe, its 'southern' appearance was welcomed very well. It could have been different if it was raining during the Sunday game but with just wind to cope with, the crowd was very enthusiastic. Rightly so, the game ended with 1:0 victory at the last minute, allowing AZ to catch Ajax on top of the Eredivisie table.
Now AFAS Stadion will remain in its uncovered configuration until the end of the current campaign. In mid-2020 construction work is likely to deliver a new roof and possibly extension of its auditorium.
As confirmed by deputy mayor for sport Pieter Dijkman in his interview to Cobouw, AZ is already in communication regarding the new roof, however no official notion as to expansion was filed as of now.