That’s how it can be… Vincent De Cabooter (43) pelted ref, but converted to steward at KV Kortrijk: “I felt guilty, now I’m helping the club” | Football

That’s how it can be… Vincent De Cabooter (43) pelted ref, but converted to steward at KV Kortrijk: “I felt guilty, now I’m helping the club” | Football
That’s how it can be… Vincent De Cabooter (43) pelted ref, but converted to steward at KV Kortrijk: “I felt guilty, now I’m helping the club” | Football
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While supporter violence is increasing, the story of Vincent Decabooter (43) proves that fines and tear gas are not sanctifying. He went from beer thrower to steward. The poacher became a forest ranger. “As a supporter you don’t think about all the work that goes into such a club.”

“It was the first match of KV Kortrijk after corona where home and away supporters were allowed. I hadn’t seen my friends for a while. It was nice, we drank a few beers. But after a few minutes the referee already gave our midfielder Palaversa a red card. When the referee walked under the stands, I threw something at him.”

Vincent Decabooter laughs. Not because he thinks it’s a nice memory. Well because now, in retrospect, he sincerely cannot understand that he ever did it. He was part of the problem that is so current in Belgian football today. Supporters who, perhaps not even with premeditation, try to take matters into their own hands. Brave family men who forget for a split second that the rules of common decency continue to apply even within the walls of a stadium.

Vincent Decabooter (43) went from beer thrower to steward at KV Kortrijk © KV Kortrijk

“It was the first time I had done something like that,” Vincent says now. “KV Kortrijk would receive a fine from the football association. The club saw through camera images that I was the person responsible. They could have chosen to recover the 5,000 euro fine from me, but they chose to invite me for an interview. I was ashamed of what I had done.”

“Together with KV Kortrijk we met with the football association. There we agreed that the fine would be waived in exchange for 80 hours of community service at the club. I had to work as a steward for a year and complete training.”

Short band with a hard core

In that fluorescent orange jacket, Vincent saw a different side of football. “Not just the beers, the hamburger and that match on the field. But also all the work that is involved, the teamwork to successfully organize the organization of such a match. As a steward you can enjoy the atmosphere around such a match, and you are also part of the team. I didn’t need a year. After four matches I had already made my decision: I want to keep doing this.”



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Vincent emphasizes the importance of stewards for football. They are the conduit between the club and the stands. They ensure de-escalation – to the extent possible. A role that they can play better than law enforcement officers. “We have a shorter relationship with the hard core than the police. I myself have been among the supporters for ten years – then I can understand and talk to them better than an agent who does not know them. A steward should mainly try to prevent this by talking to the supporters. Intervening in an incident is much less obvious.”

Money is not an issue

“I have now been active as a steward for three years. We work six to eight hours per match. I would like to become a division chief. Then you are responsible for an entire stand. The money is not an issue – it might earn two euros more than a role as a traditional steward. But you have an even bigger role. And you are even closer to the people. That’s why I do it.”

READ ALSO.

“The police force for two clubs costs 2 million. Per year”: why Belgium is longing for a new safety model for football

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: be .. Vincent Cabooter pelted ref converted steward Kortrijk felt guilty helping club Football

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