'Dark day for football' - Utrecht eye courts over end to Dutch season
AMSTERDAM - Utrecht want to take the Dutch football authorities to court after being denied the chance to compete in European competition next season.
The Dutch football association (KNVB) decided on Friday that the season would end and there would be no champions, promotion or relegation. The decision came after the government said there could be no professional football before September 1 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ajax lead the Eredivisie on goal difference from AZ Alkmaar and will enter the Champions League directly, even though they are not officially champions. The club called the decision "understandable".
Alkmaar can qualify for the Champions League via the play-offs while Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and Willem II Tilburg go into the Europa League.
But Utrecht, who were sixth in the league just three points behind Tilburg and were due to play Feyenoord in the Dutch Cup final, are incensed. They had nine games left in the league campaign.
Club boss Thijs van Es spoke of a "dark day for football" and said the decisions of the KNVB "lack transparency and objectivity." He now plans to go to court but a Dutch legal expert said it would do no good.
"A judge in the Netherlands will hardly take the sporting aspects into account, but will mainly make a judgement on procedure," Marjan Olfers told broadcaster NOS.dpa