Dutch shake-up football relegation system, boost NL teams in Europe

The Dutch football association KNVB has agreed to overhaul the relegation and promotion system between the two Dutch professional leagues from next season.

Rather than play a complicated relegation competition, the bottom two teams in the Dutch premier football league will automatically be relegated and the top two first division teams will move up, the AD said on Wednesday.

In the current system only the bottom team is relegated directly and the next teams undergo a post-season relegation battle. The third bottom Eredivisie team and third top first division side will, however, play each other to determine the final placings.

In addition, the KNVB has agreed that clubs which have made the group stage of the Champions League or Europa League will skip the first round of the Dutch cup competition, so that they can fully focus on Europe.

The KNVB is also keen to build in more flexibility when it comes to league dates for clubs involved in European competition. This year there were protests when the KNVB rearranged the schedule to give Ajax enough time to prepare for their Champions league games.

Among other measures agreed: Dutch clubs in Europe will also donate some of their international income to stimulate clubs to play on grass rather than artificial turf and Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord, AZ, FC Utrecht and Vitesse have reached a gentlemen’s agreement not to poach each others youth talent.

The new rules will be evaluated after a three-year period.

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