Troubled Twente hit with relegation for breaking money rules


By Samindra Kunti

May 19 – The Dutch FA, the KNVB, has relegated FC Twente from the domestic top flight, the Eredivisie, as punishment for breaching financial regulations. Twente will, however, maintain their professional license. 

Twente’s forced relegation to the second division follows crisis talks between the KNVB and the club as Twente missed their latest deadline to meet targets set in a financial recovery plan.

Twente’s demise and expulsion from Dutch elite football is the chronicle of a death foretold. The club from the north of the Netherlands had been teetering on the edge during the past two seasons. The club had overspent after the windfall from Champions League qualification in the 2010/11 season and had also invested heavily in a state-of-the-art stadium.

Last season Twente implemented measures after pressure from the KBVB in the form of a six points deduction punishment, but the club still had debts of €90 million. By the 2016/17 season Twente attempted to trim its budget to €35 million to further streamline its operations.

In December, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) banned Twente from European competitions for three years. But further financial mismanagement and an unsavory connection with third party player ownership specialists Doyen Sport, who were deemed to wield too much power at the club, led to Twente’s downfall.

Twente face the punishment for “repeatedly and deliberately misleading” football authorities. The KNVB’s licensing committee has, however, not revoked Twente’s professional license, a reward for the club’s supposed efforts and endeavors to reduce its debts.

Twente interim director Onno Jacobs said the club’s management was “shocked, disappointed and full of disbelief” and would carefully study the written decision before deciding on the next step.

“This feels … like a hammer blow,” said Jacobs.

“We feared the licensing commission would pull the plug completely,” said KNVB director Bert van Oostveen.

Twente, who won the Eredivisie under Steve McClaren in 2010, were twice deducted three points last year because of financial mismanagement. This season was the club’s 50th in the top flight, They finished 13th in the 18 team league.

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