The Eredivisie, the Netherlands’ top soccer league, has officially canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 season, becoming the first major European league to do so. The Netherlands’ second division season has also been canceled.
The league stated that the current standings will remain final, although no champion will be crowned this year. This means that Ajax, who were level on points with AZ Alkmaar but led on goal difference, will miss out on their 35th Eredivisie title. The results also mean that Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, as the top two finishers in the Dutch league, will enter UEFA Champions League qualification for next season. The Dutch champions typically are guaranteed a spot in the next season’s Champions League competition, but because next season remains in flux as well, Ajax will have to first qualify.
The next three teams in the league, Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and Willem II, make up the Europa League spots. Additionally, no teams will be promoted or relegated this season due to its premature conclusion.
As Goal reported, the Dutch FA will have to send its decision to UEFA to be ratified before May 25.
Originally, Dutch soccer matches were suspended beginning the weekend of March 13 with the plan to resume play on April 6, but when the Netherlands’ prime minister extended a ban on major public events until September, the Dutch Football Association’s decision was made. Many sports leagues across the world are contending with the effects of the novel coronavirus and are considering playing behind closed doors, but that was not an option for the Eredivisie. Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that soccer without fans would not even be able to happen until September at the earliest.
Last month, UEFA announced that Euro 2020 would be postponed to next summer, although the name will not be changed to Euro 2021. The Bundesliga is set to return in Germany on May 9, and games will be played without fans and limited staff. La Liga is targeting a date in June to resume its season and the Spanish league’s plan includes daily coronavirus testing for players, much smaller practice sessions, and the implementation of other strict health protocols. It remains to be seen how other top-tier European leagues like the Premier League, Serie A, and Ligue 1 will proceed.