Sports | April 25, 2020 11:07 am

Top Soccer League in the Netherlands Ends Its Season With No Title Winner or Relegation

The Eredivisie is the biggest soccer league to make a decision on its season

Netherlands Eredivisie Ajax
Daley Blind of Ajax and Myron Boadu of AZ Alkmaar during the Dutch Eredivisie match on March 1, 2020.
Soccrates/Getty Images

After soccer leagues around the world began to shut down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, thoughts immediately turned to if and when they could potentially return. Unfortunately for fans in the Netherlands, the Eredivisie, the country’s top division, announced on Friday that it will end the season with the standings intact, though they will not promote or relegate any teams and, for the first time in the league’s 64-year history, there will be no title awarded.

The news, per Goal, is particularly bleak for Ajax, the Netherlands’ most famous club who were leading the league at the time of the stoppage, thanks to a better goal difference than second-place AZ Alkmaar. Given that they didn’t officially win the league, Ajax will also have to go into the last qualifying round for the next Champions League, rather than going straight into the group stage as they would have had they lifted the trophy.

The choice to end the season now by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) also hurts the top teams in the second division, who were on track to get lucrative promotion to the first tier. SC Cambuur and De Graafschap were both on track to win promotion, but now will remain in the Eerste Divisie for next season. Cambuur head coach Jan de Jonge was unsurprisingly furious with the decision to end the league without promotion:

This feels like the biggest disgrace in the history of Dutch sports. 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.

The decision isn’t technically official yet, as the KNVB must get it ratified by UEFA before May 25; however, as Goal points out, that should only be a formality.

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Read the full story at Goal