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Eredivisie postpone full round of fixtures to aid Ajax UCL preparations

Eredivisie postpone full round of fixtures to aid Ajax preparations
© Reuters
Dutch side were facing two games in as many days.

All Eredivisie fixtures the weekend before Ajax's Champions League clash with Tottenham have been postponed, Dutch football chiefs have announced.

Ajax were scheduled to play De Graafschap on Sunday, April 28 and then Tottenham in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, April 30.

The Dutch federation, the KNVB, said its decision to delay all the weekend's league fixtures was made to allow Ajax two days' full rest between the games.

"I can confirm this as a plan and hopefully it will be (made) definite (on Friday) because we await the approval of the local authorities," KNVB spokesperson Jaap Paulsen told Press Association Sport.

"Ajax have to play two games in three days and this is impossible because the league's regulations say a club must have two full days off in between games."

The postponed matches, including Ajax v De Graafschap, will now be played on Wednesday, May 15, making it the final round of games in the Dutch top flight.

Moving Ajax's game against De Graafschap back to April 26 or 27 was also ruled out because it clashed with a large festival in Amsterdam, the King's Night and King's Day celebrations, and would have caused "insurmountable problems".

"We needed to change the schedule and this was very hard to do. We ran out of options," said Paulsen, who added the decision was in no way made to give Ajax an advantage over Tottenham.

"No, this is done to meet the agreed condition of at least two full days of rest between two games," he said.

"That is the starting point for our competition planning. That applies to all clubs and that applies to all competitions in which they play; premier league, cup tournament and European football.

"In addition, for the sake of a fair running of the competition, we maintain that as long as possible we insist that on the last two match days all clubs take action at the same time."

Ajax's teenager Matthijs de Ligt, fourth right, heads home the winner in Tuesday's second leg of their quarter-final against Juventus in Turin
Ajax's teenager Matthijs De Ligt, fourth right, heads home the winner in Tuesday's second leg of their quarter-final against Juventus in Turin (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Paulsen said other Eredivisie clubs were not asked to vote on the proposal at its meeting.

"Of course every club has their own priorities. It's not been an easy decision, but it was a problem that had to be solved," he added.

"It was not put to a vote in the end because maybe 17 of the 18 clubs would have decided to break the rules. The KNVB is responsible for this decision."


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