Ailing Dutch soccer opts for play-off system

24th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

24 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch football association KNVB announced on Friday that starting from the 2005-06 season, a play-off system will be introduced in the Premier Division to determine which teams qualify for the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.

24 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch football association KNVB announced on Friday that starting from the 2005-06 season, a play-off system will be introduced in the Premier Division to determine which teams qualify for the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.

After 34 home-and-away matches, the team which finishes on top of the ladder will be declared the Dutch champion, automatically qualifying for the Champions League without having to play the play-off matches, the KNVB said on its website.

The four teams that finish second through to fifth will play each other in a knock-out round to qualify for European championship level football. The winner will be awarded the second ticket to the Champions League and the second and third placed teams will advance to the UEFA Cup.

The KNVB said the loser will play against the winner of the play-offs contested by the teams ranked sixth to ninth. The winner of that match will gain the third Dutch ticket to the UEFA Cup.

The new playing model also states that the Premier Division will continue over the Christmas period. There will be thus no mid-winter break.

Discussions between the KNVB, Premier Division (ENV) and First Division (CED) came to the conclusion that it was time for change after 30 years using the same competition system in professional soccer. The changes to the competition have been described as "historic".
 
"Professional football in the Netherlands will get with this change an enormous impulse of quality and tension. The introduction of play-offs will eventually lead to more spectators and extra income for the clubs," the CED chairman Michael van Praag said.

The Dutch system has been up for discussion for some time because the Netherlands has fallen behind large European soccer nations. But it has also been losing ground to smaller nations such as Portugal, Greece and the Czech Republic in terms of quality and finance, raising further concern.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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