Dutch hockey club considers charging to watch top matches

The shadow of a field hockey player as they run down the pitch.Utrecht hockey club Kampong is considering introducing entrance fees for matches involving its top teams in order to boost its income, the NRC reports.

At the moment, hockey clubs are not allowed to charge supporters to attend games but can ask the Dutch hockey association KNHB for an exemption.

The KNHB says it is not against the proposal in principle but is waiting for a formal request from Kampong, the NRC reports.

Hockey is becoming an increasingly professionalised sport, with top clubs paying star players, actively scouting for new talent and offering bonuses. Kampong has so far resisted the trend.

‘We’ve watched it happening and now the board has said that we want to be among the best clubs,’ chairman Kees Roovers said. ‘But that doesn’t just happen. We will have to invest.’

Famous Dutch clubs such as Klein Zwitserland and Laren have found themselves in financial trouble after developing a maze of foundations and ‘hybrid networks’ to keep up with the leading clubs.

However, Roovers says hockey clubs are becoming more realistic. ‘The days when the euros flew over the table are now over,’ he said.

Today there are 320 hockey clubs in the Netherlands and the sport is played by nearly 240,000 people. The big clubs, like Rotterdam, have over 3,000 members and there are over 100 youth teams.

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