The Dutch Eredivisie has become the first major European football league to cancel its season in response to the global pandemic.
The move comes after the Netherlands Government put a ban on all major events until September 1 due to the deadly virus.
Dutch football’s governing body, Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), issued a statement confirming the cancellation of the campaign, which read:
“Under these circumstances, it is not appropriate to speak of a championship and there is no champion. Because many rounds still have to be played in the competitions, we believe that we cannot apply promotion/relegation (either).”
Ajax and AZ Alkmaar were battling for the Eredivisie title, with the former being ahead of the latter just on goal difference.
Both teams have been granted a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifying phases, with Ajax entering the final round of the qualifiers, while AZ will be involved in the second round. However, this is subject to ratification from European football’s governing body.
The decision has generated some controversy in the country. Eerste Divisie side Cambuur, who opened up an 11-point lead over the playoff positions and were up for promotion, have been short-changed by the decision.
Cambuur head coach Henk de John told Dutch broadcaster NOS the decision felt 'like the biggest disgrace in the history of Dutch sport'.
This is the first time that Eredivisie has ended a season without a champion being named since its inception in 1956.
The Eredivisie Women has also been cancelled without a champion being named. The Champions League place has been awarded to leaders PSV, while second-placed Ajax will participate in the qualifying stages, subject to UEFA approval.
Now that the precedent has been set by the Eredivisie, neighbours Belgium are could follow suit and ratify the cancellation of the Jupiler Pro League, which was announced earlier this month.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Maurice Van Steen