Oranje draw Germany in European championships qualifiers


The Netherlands meet Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia and Belarus in their Group C qualification competition for the 2020 European football championships. Oranje failed to qualify for both the 2014 European championships and the 2018 World Cup and needs a top two place in the group to be certain of qualifying for the finals in summer 2020. They meet Belarus at home in their first match on March 21. The qualification matches are spread over 10 rounds between March and November 19 next year. The actual competition will take place in 12 European cities as a one-off event to celebrate the 60th anniversiary of the European Championships. On Monday, Oranje learned that England will be their semi-final opponent in the Nations League next June. The Netherlands beat France and Germany to qualify for the final stages of the new tournament, which will be held in Portugal.  More >



More reports of sex abuse in sports clubs

Reports of abusive behaviour in sporting organisations have increased in the past year, according to the NRC Handelsblad. The paper quotes the victim aid organisation Slachtofferhulp Nederland, which said that 70 people reported this kind of abuse in 2018, compared with just 30 in 2017. Behaviour ranged from ‘a hand on someone’s buttock to sexual assault and rape,’ board member Victor Jammers told the NRC. Most of the reports came from alleged victims, although sports associations and friends also got in touch with Slachtofferhulp Nederland. The vast majority involved children under the age of consent, and slightly more than half were female. Last week, the Telegraaf newspaper claimed that a suspended athletics coach, Jerry M., who sexually abused girls for more than three decades, was first reported to police in 2000. The report sparked allegations that alerts were not properly followed up. A special commission led by former minister Klaas de Vries reported in 2017 that one in eight children and teenagers had experienced unwanted sexual attention in sports clubs – mostly from coaches or team leaders. It said the clubs needed to do much more to prevent abuse. It is unclear whether the increased number of reports to Slachtofferhulp Nederland is related to more awareness, or a rise in incidents.  More >



Michael van Gerwen celebrates darts title

Dutch darts player Michael van Gerwen has won the PDC world title for the third time, beating England’s Michael Smith in Monday evening’s final 7-3. The number one seed, described as ‘not being at his best’ by the BBC, picks up a check for over €500,000 for his victory. He also took the title in 2014 and 2017. MvG lifts his @WilliamHill World Championship trophy high to this Ally Pally crowd!#WHDarts pic.twitter.com/z4eOeMNVic — PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) January 1, 2019   More >


Skaters win sportsman and woman titles

Speed skaters Kjeld Nuis and Suzanne Schulting have been named sportsman and sportswoman of the year at the annual NOC*NSF gala event. Nuis, who is 29, missed the 2010 and 2014 Olympics but made up for it this year by winning gold in both the 1,000 metres and 1,500 metres at the winter games in South Korea. 'I am extremely proud. I have worked hard for this,' Nuis said after his name was called. Suzanne Schulting, 21, is the first Dutch short track skater to win a gold Olympic medal - she picked up the 1,000 metre title. Schulting thanked her parents during her speech. 'I know I have been a right pain at times, but it all worked out well in the end,' she said. The title of paralympic athlete of the year went to snowboarder Bibian Mentel who won two gold metals at the Paralympics.  More >



Ajax need penalties to move on in KNVB Cup

Amsterdam football club Ajax has reached the quarter finals of the KNVB Cup for the first time since 2014 but had great difficulty beating Roda JC to do so. The first division side held the Amsterdammers to a 1-1 draw after extra time, forcing a penalty decider. That too was a nail-biter, after Roda players missed the first two, as did 'Golden Boy' Matthijs de Ligt for Ajax. However, Daley Blind put his away, giving Ajax the game. Ajax coach Erik ten Hag said after the match he was disappointed at the way his team had won, but it was the result that mattered. 'We did not put in much speed and we did not show much creativity,' he said. The last round of 16 matches take place on Thursday evening.  More >


Dutch court hosts Rafinha versus Adidas

Barcelona football player Rafinha is being taken to court by German sportswear giant Adidas for breach of contract, and the case is being heard today in Amsterdam. Adidas want Rafinha to pay €100,000 for every day he refuses to wear the company's boots, in line with a contract dating from 2013. The case is being heard in a Dutch court because the company's international trademarks are based in Amsterdam and this is where the contract is based. The agreement signed between Rafinha and Adidas requires the player to only wear Adidas boots during matches and training, and clothing during official media appearances. The deal expired this June. However, small print allowed Adidas to extend the contract if Rafinha failed to respond to requests for an extension, the Daily Mirror reported. Dutch lawyer and football broker Royce de Vries told broadcaster NOS Rafinha is likely to have a financial reason to go to court. 'There is a big likelihood that another, more lucrative deal, is on its way,' he said. De Vries said he doubted that Rafinha will win. 'His lawyer and his manager should have read the small print,' De Vries said. 'But who knows what the judge will decide.'  More >



Ajax face Real Madrid in Champions League

Ajax's reward for reaching the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in 13 years is a daunting tie against 13-times winners Real Madrid. The Spanish giants are seeking a fourth straight victory in the competition, while the last of Ajax's four wins came in 1995. Real qualified as winners of their group, while Ajax finished second behind Bayern Munich. Defender Daley Blind said the Amsterdammers would go into the tie as underdogs, but added: 'If we play with the same energy, guts and flair as we did against Bayern we'll definitely create chances.' The two sides last met in the group stage of the 2013/14 competition, when Real won both matches 4-1. Only one of their twelve meetings has ended in a draw, with Real holding an overall 7-4 lead. The first leg will be played in the Amsterdam ArenA on February 13, with the return in Madrid on March 5.  More >