Dutch mayors oppose KNVB plan to resume football season

The Dutch football federation KNVB is planning to resume its professional football season on June 19. For this to happen, clubs would need to start training by May 15, despite the fact that football has been banned until at least June 1. The mayors of several cities with football teams were not in agreement with the plans.

The KNVB's plans are dependent on updates regarding coronavirus distancing measures in place in The Netherlands. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to update the nation on April 21 over these issues.

Rutte told a press conference on Tuesday, "Maybe we can say something about the ban on football on April 21, but I cannot get ahead of myself. The KNVB would have to check with lawyers whether training before that time is possible”.

The mayor of Eindhoven John Jorritsma has said that Eindhoven will not be going along with the KNVB’s plans. “For me, there is no confusion on the matter, it is banned until June 1, whether the KNVB want it or not, it will not be happening”.

The KNVB plans on letting individuals start training on May 15 before letting small groups start on May 22. Full training is intended to begin on May 29. Clubs would then have the opportunity to play practice matches at the beginning of June to get the players fit to resume the season on June 19. 

Breda major Paul Depla agreed with his counterpart in Eindhoven. He said that most mayors share the worries of Jorritsma. Depla was the representative of all mayors from cities which have professional teams at the KNVB meeting to discuss the new plans.

The KNVB said it hoped to have the season finished by July 31, with clubs potentially being asked to play two games a week for some weeks to ensure this happens, a spokesman told NL times. Despite many clubs supporting the plan, at least three of the country’s top football teams called for a premature end to the season last week.

The KNVB also wants to start the next season on Aug. 21. The Dutch football season would have games played over Christmas to have the next season finished in time for the European Championships next summer.