Resumption of EPL 'very doubtful', says Dutch football chief, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Resumption of EPL 'very doubtful', says Dutch football chief

It is very unlikely that the English Premier League or other European leagues will be able to resume soon, said Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) president Just Spee.

He was making the comments a day after the KNVB became the first European league to call off its season due to the Covid-19 crisis, with no champions declared and no promotion and relegation.

Champions League and Europa League spots will be allocated based on current standings, which means leaders Ajax Amsterdam and second-placed AZ Alkmaar - who were separated only by goal difference with nine games left - will both go through to Europe's premier club competition.

When asked about the chances of European leagues returning in any way in 2019/20, Spee said it is slim and even games behind closed doors will be too much to ask.

He told BBC: "To be honest, seeing what is happening and seeing that things get postponed week by week by week, how realistic is it that within the next three or four weeks, we will come to a different conclusion?

"Not so much I believe. And also the Premier League will need a number of weeks to complete their competition. Is there going to be enough time for that? Doubtful, very doubtful."

The KNVB's decision has infuriated several clubs.

Utrecht owner Frans van Seumeren told local broadcaster RTV Utrecht that they will take legal action to try and overturn the decision.

Utrecht were sixth in the table, three points behind fifth-placed Willem II, who occupied the last Europa League spot.

But Utrecht had a game in hand over Willem II and a far superior goal difference.

In the second tier, leaders Cambuur, who were 11 points clear of third-placed Volendam with nine games left, are also considering legal action, reported Dutch website Voetbal Primeur.

Cambuur coach Henk de Jong called the decision to cancel the league "the biggest disgrace in the history of Dutch sports".

At the top, Ajax were denied the title, but the club's general manager Edwin van der Sar said the decision was understandable. "There are a lot more important matters than football right now," he told the club's TV channel.