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Dutch Football Federation says unified league with Belgium impossible in short term, but could happen in future

  • The Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) poured cold water on recent talk for a unified Low Countries league saying it was impossible in the short term.

  • The project is being led by the largest clubs in the two countries, six from the Dutch Eredivisie and five from the Belgian Pro League.

  • On Friday, the KNVB acknowledged that a preliminary study had been completed.

Brussels: The Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) poured cold water on recent talk for a unified Low Countries league on Tuesday saying it was "impossible in the short term".

 Dutch Football Federation says unified league with Belgium impossible in short term, but could happen in future

File image of Ajax players. AFP

Yet the KNVB did rule out a Belgian-Dutch league in the future.

"The interest is real, the studies are continuing," a federation communications officer told AFP. "It is difficult at the moment to say when they will be completed."

The issue had been raised again on 22 October when Bart Verhaeghe, the president of Belgian team Club Brugge told the French daily Le Monde that he was working to create a Belgian-Dutch league to compete with the Spanish, Italian, German, English and French leagues.

Verhaeghe said he wanted to "reduce our gap with the 'big five' and open a market of 28 million consumers".

"If not for next season, probably in the next two," Verhaeghe added.

The project is being led by the largest clubs in the two countries, six from the Dutch Eredivisie and five from the Belgian Pro League.

On Friday, the KNVB acknowledged that a preliminary study had been completed.

"On the basis of current observations, stakeholders considered that there was scope for moving to a second phase of the study," the KNVB said in a statement.

On Saturday, the president of the Pro League Peter Croonen told local media that "no planning" had been initiated.

Enthusiasm for a "BeNeLigue" seems more pronounced in Belgium than in the Netherlands.

"There are advantages and disadvantages in itself," former Dutch player Yuri Mulder told Flemish television on Monday. But, he added, "it will never work in the Netherlands, because 13 of the 18 clubs in Eredivisie must be in favour of it in order to make a decision".

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Updated Date: Oct 30, 2019 10:27:00 IST