Dutch start rethink of elite league structure

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By Samindra Kunti

July 26 – The Dutch FA, the KNVB, is considering new structural reforms of its domestic club football with the aim of redesigning the Eredivisie, the second division and the Dutch cup from 2018/2019 season onwards. 

From the 2016/17 season onwards professional and amateur football in the Netherlands will be integrated through a mandatory system of promotion and relegation. At the moment, Dutch professional football consists of the Eredivisie and the Eerste divisie. They are the corresponding equivalents of the Premier League and The Championship respectively in England. Below those two leagues, Dutch football turns amateur with the Topklasse, Hoofdklasse and Eerste Klasse.

The KNVB has added a new nationwide league, the Landelijke divisie, that will function as a go-between professional and amateur football with a system of promotion and relegation. 18 clubs, 14 Topklasse teams and four professional reserve teams, will make up this hybrid league that is set to kick off in the 2016/17 season.

But the KNVB is now focusing on a restructuring its elite football. The Dutch FA aims to create a more level-playing field, where clubs of the same level meet more often. Recent league reforms in Belgium, Portugal and Poland are case that may be studied in the KNVB’s assessment.

By May 2017 an advice will be to the Algemene Vergadering Betaald Voetbal, the body responsible for professional football in the Netherlands. The respective clubs will then vote about possible changes to the league structure and other alterations. The reforms would then be implemented from the from 2018/2019 season onwards.

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