Ajax denied Eredivisie title as league gets cancelled because of pandemic

The Dutch Football Association, KNVB, has decided to cancel all the associated leagues after reaching an agreement with all the clubs in a video conference. This means there will be no promotion, relegation or crowning of champions, thus denying Ajax and AZ from competing for the top spot in the league and several other clubs a chance to fight for European Competition spots. The decision came after it was announced by the Dutch Government that the ban on all public gatherings and such events would be extended until September 1.

Although Ajax abstained from voting on promotion and relegation, they promised they would help any club that needs financial support as all the clubs collectively recognised the ongoing crisis was bigger than football. COVID-19 has caused the suspension of every sporting league across the world in order to encourage social distancing which is perceived as the only possible solution to the pandemic. But now Eredivisie has become the first of the top European Leagues to cancel the league.

UEFA, after a committee held meeting recently, has given the freedom to football associations to decide whether they have to complete the league or terminate it under certain circumstances such as a Government ban on sports events or economic/financial stability risk of the league or the clubs. They also announced it is the responsibility of the FA, if the league gets terminated, to decide the contenders for the UEFA competitions and provide an explanation for the same. Hence, the Eredivisie decided to send Ajax directly to the playoffs of UCL, despite Ajax being level on points with AZ, who will enter at the second qualifying round.

Many Ajax players, coaches and staff including Hakim Ziyech who has announced he will leave for Chelsea despite doubts due to the pandemic, have expressed their discontent over the league’s decision of cancelling the league. Ziyech believed that Ajax did deserve to win this league as the Amsterdam club is ahead due to goal difference, even though they lost twice to AZ this season.

Meanwhile, Ajax captain Dusan Tadic also expressed his disappointment in the decision made by the Dutch Authorities in a recent interview. Tadic also said that he would have loved to face AZ in a final and was confident he and Ajax would have beaten them. The CEO of the club and former player Edwin Van Der Sar, however, saw the bigger picture and admitted even though he would have loved to see Ajax winning, there are more important things to deal with than football right now.