Coronavirus: Cambuur coach decries ‘biggest sports scandal in history’ as Eredivisie promotion is denied

Cambuur head coach Henk de Jong called the decision to abandon the 2019-20 season prematurely and deny his side promotion to the Eredivisie “the biggest scandal in the history of Dutch sports”.

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) announced the end of the Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie campaigns on Friday due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no champions being crowned and promotion and relegation being cancelled.

Cambuur head coach Henk de Jong

Cambuur appeared set to return to the Eredivisie, as they were sitting top of the second tier and held an 11-point advantage over third-placed Volendam when the season was suspended.

However, the KNVB’s ruling meant Cambuur and De Graafschap miss out on top-flight football in 2020-21, while RKC Waalwijk, ADO Den Haag and Fortuna Sittard had their Eredivisie survival guaranteed.

“This feels like the biggest scandal in the history of Dutch sports,” De Jong was quoted as saying by NOS.

“I always intend to see the best in people and their decision-making, but this is unworthy of the sport.

“We had UEFA on our side, the clubs were on our side and we were 11 points ahead, so I don’t know what happened. UEFA asked for fair decisions, but this isn’t one.

“The Eerste Division is negated and destroyed by this. I think it’s a shame for Dutch football.”

General manager Ard de Graaf did not rule out Cambuur taking legal action.

De Graaf said: “We will investigate our options. I just don’t get it. Why didn’t they follow the rules on both tiers?

“This is a major blow for us. The difference between playing in the first or the second tier is huge. The first tier gets way more money and we are working on a new stadium and building our plans around it. Now this is being taken away from us and that feels like an injustice.”

by Tom Webber

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