The number of foreign players at Dutch football clubs has gone down by 25% over the past five years, according to research by the Volkskrant.
In 2009, almost 40% of the players in the two professional leagues came from outside the Netherlands but this has now gone down to almost 30%, the Volkskrant says. Twenty years ago, the percentage was just 11%.
Over half the players at Arnhem club Vitesse and AZ of Alkmaar are foreign. Go Ahead Eagles, by contrast, has no non-Dutch players on board.
The paper says the trend is clearly visible at the country’s leading clubs. Last Sunday, just one foreign player took to the pitch for PSV. Feyenoord, too, fielded just one foreign player in its match against FW Twente.
The paper says the Dutch Eredivisie is far from interesting for top foreign talents, who prefer to go to Spain, Germany, England, Italy and France. There they can both earn more and achieve more on the pitch.
‘We can easily pay €10m or even €30m for a player,’ Ajax coach Frank de Boer said last weekend. ‘But footballers who cost so much, don’t come to Ajax.’
Danny Hesp, head of the players union VVSC, said the development is a positive one for home grown talent. However, there are dangers, he said. ‘We are trailing in European competition. Clubs like Groningen, Zwolle and Twente have already been eliminated.’
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