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Eredivisie to end season as prime minister Rutte bans professional football until September

22:05 BST 21/04/2020
Hakim Ziyech Ajax 2019-20
The leader of the Netherlands extended a moratorium on events subject to licensing, which was previously in place through June 1

The Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) has said it intends to end the 2019-20 Eredivisie season after Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte announced on Tuesday that all professional football is banned until September 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Dutch top flight has been suspended since early March, with nine games remaining and Ajax ahead of AZ at the top of the table on goal difference. 

Though many leagues across Europe are considering a return in the summer with games behind closed doors, Rutte said at a press conference that even matches with no fans will not happen until autumn at the earliest.

A ban on events subject to licensing was previously in place until June 1, and Rutte has now confirmed the extension of that ban through September. That meant that in addition to professional football, a pair of popular festivals in the Netherlands were also cancelled.

"We will certainly not be able to handle the risks in the coming months, and we want to provide organisers with clarity. That means no Pinkpop, Zwarte Cross and no paid professional football either. That is irritating, but we will have to make that sacrifice," Rutte said.

In response to Rutte's announcement, the KNVB released a statement saying it intends to end the Eredivisie season and will consult with UEFA to determine how to resolve the competition.

"That the events requiring a permit remain prohibited until September 1 creates clarity," the statement read. "Until then, no professional football can be played, even without an audience. 

"As a result, the board of professional football intends not to continue playing the 19/20 league. Based on the government's decision today, the KNVB will consult with UEFA, after which a decision will be made. On Friday, the clubs and other parties involved will meet to discuss the consequences."

Several Eredivisie clubs have recently expressed their support for ending the season, including AZ, Ajax and PSV among others. Should the season end it would be up to the KNVB to determine how the competition is resolved. 

The entire season could potentially be voided, or the KNVB could decide to award Ajax the title based on their current position atop the Eredivisie table. In addition, European places and promotion and relegation will have to be sorted out.

Former Netherlands national team manager Louis van Gaal recently hit out at Ajax, saying the club were looking to take advantage of the coronavirus uncertainty to secure the title.