Sunday 31 May 2020

No football in my city: Eindhoven mayor criticises KNVB’s corona plans

The PSV stadium in Eindhoven. Photo: Wikipedia

Eindhoven mayor John Jorritsma has slammed the Dutch football association’s plans to complete this season’s Eredivisie competition, saying there will be no football in his city in June and July.

The Dutch football association says it still aims to resume the Eredivise competition in mid-June, despite resistance from a number of clubs, including PSV Eindhoven and league leaders Ajax and AZ.

The KNVB position is in line with that taken by Uefa, which has called on all leagues to finish the season by early August. The KNVB decision follows a video conference with representatives of clubs, supporters, sponsors and TV rights holder Fox Sports on Tuesday.

The KNVB says it is counting on competition resuming the weekend of 19 June, if the public health institute RIVM gives the go ahead. The games would most likely take place without fans. The aim is that clubs should restart training mid May.

However, organised events have been banned until June 1 and prime minister Mark Rutte has questioned whether it would be legal to resume training.

And Jorritsma told broadcaster NOS on Wednesday that the KNVB’s choice is ‘irresponsible’. ‘It is not going to happen in Eindhoven,’ he said.

Playing matches without fans is not an option either because it will lead to groups hanging around the stadium and city centre, putting further pressure on police and street wardens, the mayor said.

The KNVB would do well to wait until the government decides on April 21 if the lockdown can be partially lifted, he said. ‘But whatever measures the government comes up with, it is not socially responsible to let football continue at the moment.’

The KNVB meanwhile says that if restrictions are lifted, the cup final between Utrecht and Feyenoord can take place on July 12.

The Dutch football body has also drawn up revised plans to speed up the playoffs for promotion and relegation between the two professional divisions.

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