Football News

Eredivisie 2019/20 void? Dutch FA explain decisions after ending season

By Chris Smith

Published: 18:23, 24 April 2020

The 2019/20 season of the Dutch Eredivisie has been ended with immediate effect, with no champion named for the first time in the league’s 64-year history.

 Ajax were ahead of second-placed AZ Alkmaar on goal difference after 25 games, with Feyenoord six points further back in third.

Eredivisie cancelled: Five key things to know…

  • Ajax and AZ Alkmaar were level on 56 points atop the Eredivisie table.
  • Ajax held the edge on goal difference.
  • But neither will be crowned champions as the 2019/20 season has been cancelled.
  • Promotion and relegation to and from the Eredivisie has also been scrapped this year.
  • Ajax and AZ will be put forward for next season’s Champions League, while Feyenoord, PSV and Willem II will be selected for the Europa League, all based off their league position.

However, the Amsterdam giants have been denied the chance to lift a 35th Dutch top-flight title with the season declared null and void, meaning promotion and relegation to and from the Eredivisie has also been scrapped.

RKC Waalwijk had occupied the automatic relegation spot, while Fortuna Sittard and Alan Pardew’s ADO Den Haag had occupied the play-off places.

A KNVB statement read: “The professional football board, after consulting clubs, players and coaches, and with the approval of the Supervisory Board, has decided to stop the 2019-20 competition and to allow the allocation of European club football spots based on the current league table.

“This is in accordance with UEFA guidelines. In relation to promotion and demotion, it has been decided not to promote and not to be demoted.”A meeting about the premature termination of the Dutch professional football competitions has never taken place before […] so nothing is included in the KNVB regulations.”

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Ajax and AZ Alkmaar will take up the Dutch Champions League spots, while Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and Willem II will be awarded places in the Europa League.

The decision to award Willem II a Europa League spot has caused controversy. Sixth-placed FC Utrecht are just three points behind the Tricolores with a game in hand and a +13 advantage in terms of goal difference.

FC Utrecht could also have qualified for the Europa League via the KNVB Cup, but their final against Feyenoord will not be played either and neither team has been awarded the trophy.

The club have announced they will be taking legal action.

“FC Utrecht does not accept the intended decision to distribute the European places,” the club said in a statement. “FC Utrecht does not hesitate to challenge the decision not to award a place to us before a sports tribunal and UEFA.

“After written correspondence earlier today, the KNVB announced via a conference call that the European place will be allocated to numbers 1 to 5 in the current Eredivisie rankings.

“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 cancellation of the season is also particularly cruel on Cambuur and De Graafschap, who were 11 and seven points clear in the promotion spots of the Eerste Divisie (Dutch second division) respectively.

“This feels like the biggest disgrace in the history of Dutch sports,” said Cambuur manager Jan de Jonge. “I always intend to see the best in people and their choice-making, but this is unworthy to the sport.

“We had UEFA on our side, the clubs were on our side and we were eleven points ahead, so I don’t know what happened. The UEFA asked for fair decisions, but this isn’t one.”