Red Bull looks to buy Dutch football club; League says "not possible"

FC Red Bull Salzburg mascot
FC Red Bull Salzburg mascot. Photo: Werner100359 / Wikimedia Commons

The director of Red Bull Nederland dreams of one day owning a Dutch football club, he said on Monday, giving hope to a number of struggling football clubs in the country. But Dutch football association KNVB crushed those hopes - it is simply impossible for Red Bull to own a Dutch club under the current rules, KNVB spokesperson Koen Adriaanse said to Metro Nieuws.

"The Dutch rules are clear: It is not possible for a party like Red Bull to become shareholder of a Dutch professional football organization if Red Bull is also directly or indirectly tied as shareholder, director or commissioner to another professional football club which is a member of UEFA", Adriaanse explained. "That is the case for RB Leipzig in Germany and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria."

Red Bull already owns three football clubs - RB Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg and New York Red Bulls. A Dutch club would go perfectly with the company's existing football portfolio, Jan Smilde of Red Bull Nederland said to BNR on Monday. "It is my greatest wish", he said. "Our philosophy is to have ownership of everything: the club, the name and the stadium. We are then looking for a club that could use our help."

This statement brought hope to a number of struggling parties. Political party Trots Haarlem immediately contacted Red Bull, hoping that the company can help them fulfill a campaign promise to bring professional football back to Haarlem. HFC Haarlem was founded in 1889 and went bankrupt in 2010, after the club was taken from the first division. Trots Haarlem was hoping to get some strong support from the city by teaming up with Red Bull.

But even if it was not impossible under KNVB rules, Haarlem would not have been a likely choice, sports marketer Guido Klomp from Triple Double said to Metro. "Red Bull's football portfolio is growing. There's also been talk of an English club for a while. Of course it is interesting to philosophize and think about which Dutch club will suit Red Bull's plans, but that's hard to say. Personally I don't think Haarlem is eligible. Red Bull is looking fro a club with potential for growth, not a club that needs to start from scratch. Haarlem has no stadium, no training and no supporters."

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