Monday 30 November 2020

Ajax heads for Champions League as Dutch FA solves end of season puzzle

Photo: Depositphotos.com

As expected, Ajax and AZ will be part of Champions League football next season, with Feyenoord placing directly for the Europa League and  PSV Eindhoven and Willem II taking part in the Europa League qualifying competition.

Ajax, level with AZ on points but ahead on goal difference, will go straight into the Champions League group stage, while AZ will join the competition in the second qualifying round.

The Dutch football association KNVB made the announcement on Friday afternoon after consulting clubs from the two professional leagues following the government’s decision to extend the ban on organised events to September at least.

Merit

European football body Uefa said on Thursday that European tickets must be allocated depending on sporting merit.

The decision means FC Utrecht, currently sixth in the league with a match in hand and a KNVB Cup finalist, are left empty handed.

The KNVB has also decided there will be no relegations or promotions this season. This means Ado Den Haag and RKC Waalwijk are both safe in the Eredivisie, while Cambuur and De Graafschap remain in the first division.

Protests

FC Utrecht, Cambuur and De Graafschap have all reacted angrily to the decision and say they are now talking to lawyers.

‘We are convinced the club has the right to a ticket to European football on the basis of its achievements,’ FC Utrecht said on its website. ‘There can be absolutely no doubt of that.’

However, experts rate their chances to win change to be very low. ‘A judge in the Netherlands looks at the procedure, not the sporting prowess,’ sports lawyer and professor Marjan Olfers told broadcaster NOS.

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