City duo to return home after Dutch season scrapped due to coronavirus
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Professional football in Holland has been scrapped for the rest of the season due to the global pandemic, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) announced on Friday evening.
Norwich City loan duo, Charlie Gilmour and Savvas Mourgos, had been playing in the Dutch second tier for Telstar and Dordrecht respectively but the KNVB has now called time on the campaign, following the Dutch prime minister’s decision to ban all sporting events until September due to the coronavirus.
That decision means Eredivisie leaders, Ajax, miss out on being crowned champions.
RKC Waalwijk, who were almost to certain to be relegated, have avoided the drop along with Alan Pardew’s ADO Den Haag, who also looked vulnerable. No teams from the Eerste Divisie (Second Division) will be promoted.
As per UEFA’s directive for qualification for their European competitions to be decided on ‘sporting merit’, the KNVB has opted to use the league table as it stood when the season was suspended in March.
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That means Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, who were separated by goal difference only, go into the Champions League, with Ajax entering at the final stage of qualifying.
Third-placed Feyenoord will qualify for the Europa League group stage while PSV and Willem II head into the second qualifying round for the Europa League, subject to confirmation from UEFA.
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A statement from Eredivisie read: “The professional football board, after consulting clubs, players and coaches, and with the approval of the Supervisory Board, has decided to stop the 2019-20 competition and to allow the allocation of European club football spots based on the current league table.
“This is in accordance with UEFA guidelines. In relation to promotion and demotion, it has been decided not to promote and not to be demoted.
“A meeting about the premature termination of the Dutch professional football competitions has never taken place before.
“It is a situation that was considered impossible, so that nothing is included in the KNVB regulations.
“Nevertheless, it had to be decided how the European tickets will be distributed this season and whether clubs will be promoted and relegated.
“If so, which clubs are they and on what basis? Aware of the different visions and interests for the clubs, the KNVB is aware that whatever decision had to be made, every option would hurt somewhere.”
In England, the Premier League and EFL have resolved to finish the season when it is safe to do so, but the government will only review current lockdown measures in place across society again on May 7.
Germany’s football authorities announced their intention to resume the domestic leagues next month following a meeting of all 36 professional clubs on Thursday.
In France the top two tiers of French professional football have been suspended since March.
However, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has now set out its intention for players to return to club training in the week beginning May 11, with a return to action in mid-June.
An LFP statement read: “The bureau of the LFP board of directors continued its work on the scenario adopted during the meeting of April 10 which provides for a resumption of the championships in mid-June, subject to knowing the conditions of lifting confinement measures, which will be presented by the government in the coming days.
“Under development with the French football federation medical commission and the doctors of professional clubs, this protocol provides in particular for players to return to the training centre in the week of May 11 to carry out a complete medical check-up (cardiological, virological and psychological) , as well as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests for coronavirus, then daily medical monitoring, which will be detailed in the protocol finalised by the end of April.”