Sports

COVID-19 forces Netherlands to end football season early

No champions, no promotion or relegation, says organizer

Can Erozden   | 24.04.2020
COVID-19 forces Netherlands to end football season early

ANKARA

The Netherlands on Friday announced ending early the 2019-2020 professional football season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Unfortunately, with the cabinet's most recent corona measures, it has become impossible to complete the 2019/2020 season of professional football competitions in time," the top-tier Dutch division Eredivisie said in a statement on its website.

The statement said there will be no champions in both the Eredivisie and the second-tier Keuken Kampioen Divisie and none of the leading clubs in these leagues will be named 2020 champs.

It also stated that there will be no promotion or relegation in these competitions even though there have been many rounds to be played.

"Since the cup final cannot be played, there is no winner this season. It has been decided to place the ticket for the winner to the highest in the rankings, after the Champions League," Eredivisie said.

So the league leaders Ajax Amsterdam will directly go to the UEFA Champions League playoffs.

AZ Alkmaar, who were in the second spot in the league table, will go to the Champions League qualifying phase.

Feyenoord Rotterdam, the third placed club, will enter the UEFA Europa League's group stage.

PSV Eindhoven and Willem II Tilburg will advance to the Europa League's second qualifying round.

The Dutch football organizer added that all these decisions were subject to the approval of European football's governing body UEFA.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, has spread to at least 185 countries and regions across the world. Europe and the U.S. are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed more than 193,600 people, with total infections exceeding 2.76 million, while more than 760,000 have recovered from the disease, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The Netherlands reported 4,304 deaths from the novel coronavirus and there are 36,727 confirmed cases in this country.

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