Legal threats and disappointment - almost no-one's happy in Holland

The KNVB decisions to award European placings based on current standings while blocking promotion...
Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

21.44 24 Apr 2020

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Legal threats and disappointme...

Legal threats and disappointment - almost no-one's happy in Holland

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

21.44 24 Apr 2020

Share this article

The KNVB decisions to award European placings based on current standings while blocking promotion and relegation has gone down like a fart in church. 

Large-scale sporting events are banned in the Netherlands until September 1, which led to the KNVB opting to end the current season.

A meeting with clubs followed on Friday which concluded with a controversial vote which effectively maintains the status quo for next season.


16 clubs voted in favour of maintaining promotion and relegation, 9 voted against and another 9 abstained leaving the decision in the hands of the Dutch FA - the KNVB.

RKC Waalwijk, ADO Den Haag and Fortuna Sittard avoid relegation bother, while promotion incumbents Cambuur and De Graafschap stay marooned in the Eerste Divisie.


Cambuur have an eleven-point advantage over third placed Volendam, meaning the the Frisian side were on course for a return to the Eredivisie after five seasons away.

"It is a disgrace to Dutch football" is how Cambuur head coach Henk de Jong summed up the situation.

De Graafschap boss Mike Snoei told de Gelderlander, "I didn't like the voting idea in the first place. It's like asking turkeys about how they feel about Christmas".

While FC Groningen director Hans Nijland said it was "incomprehensible" that clubs were allowed vote in this way.


The KNVB decision keeps UEFA happy, as European places have been decided 'on sporting merit' as had been requested of leagues that finished prematurely.

Ajax have therefore been granted the qualification to the Champions League group stages that comes with top spot but not the title.

"I play football to win prizes, just like players from AZ, PSV and Feyenoord. And the championship is a great prize. This was a great disappointment to me," Ajax forward Dusan Tadic told de Telegraaf on Friday evening.

AZ general manager Robert Eenhoorn is even more unhappy.

"We do not agree with the way in which the Football Board has decided European qualification," he told the AZ website.

Eernhoorn says they'd been working in the background for a number of weeks and presented a number of scenarios to the KNVB, "However, our proposals have remained unanswered", he added.

The AZ chief says the club are considering their position.

Legal threats

Meanwhile, Utrecht are threatening legal action having missed out on a place in next season's Europa League.

Feyenoord take a place in the Europa League group phase, while PSV Eindhoven will enter in the 3rd qualifying round, and Willem II in the 2nd qualifying round.

One of the sides most hard done-by through this process is Utrecht.

They trailed 6th placed Willem II by three-points, but would have leapt above them had they won their game in hand.

I have a tremendous rage," Utrecht's Spanish midfielder Adrian Dalmau told Marca. "I don't know what to say.

"It's shameful, crazy... ridiculous.

"A tremendous sporting injustice has been committed against Utrecht.

"The decision has been made without any type of criteria."

The club themselves are considering legal action, "FC Utrecht does not hesitate to challenge the decision not to award a place to us before a sports tribunal and UEFA", they announced on their site.

Utrecht were due to face Feyenoord in the Dutch Cup final on April 19, but the Europa League place that comes with winning the trophy has effectively been cast to one side.

"It is unacceptable for FC Utrecht that the cup competition, for which the final has not been played, is completely ignored and does not count in the consideration of which club is entitled to a European ticket on sporting grounds", the added.

"The Europa League group stage ticket will be awarded to Feyenoord without any explanation based on the league table. FC Utrecht is just as entitled to this ticket as fellow cup finalist Feyenoord (and even more entitled because it has won a cup match more than Feyenoord), which is not included in the presentation of the decisions today."

Utrecht go on to accuse the KNVB of a "lack of transparency and objectivity" in their decision to shift the other Europa League place to the Eredivisie.

"FC Utrecht is convinced that the club is entitled to a place in European football on sporting grounds, because of the place in the cup final and because of the current Eredivisie ranking, where, with a game less played, we have better mutual results than compared to Willem II.

"There is no doubt that FC Utrecht deserves a European place based on the current season's sporting achievements."

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