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Vitesse Arnhem suffer relegation from Eredivisie after 18-point deduction

Published at :April 20, 2024 at 4:15 PM
Modified at :April 20, 2024 at 4:15 PM
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(Courtesy : Vitesse Arnhem)

Rajarshi Shukla

The club was relegated in the wake of the Guardian and TBIJ investigation

Following an investigation by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) that revealed apparent financial ties between Vitesse Arnhem and the Russian oligarch and past Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, the Dutch football association has formally confirmed Vitesse Arnhem’s relegation by deducting 18 points from the club.

The club, formerly known as SBV Vitesse, did not comply with the conditions of its licence restrictions, according to the KNVB, the body that oversees Dutch football. As a result, the club was hit with a record fine.

Vitesse will be demoted to the second level from the Eredivisie, where they had played for 35 years, as a result of the sanction, which would drop their point total to -1. With four games remaining, the financially troubled team was already at the bottom of the Eredivisie.

According to the KNVB, Vitesse’s “exceptional seriousness and extent” of infractions of the Dutch football licencing system was the reason for the penalty’s historic magnitude.

It said that Vitesse had given “incorrect information” that was crucial for a forensic examination to determine whether or not it had broken any penalties laws. It said Vitesse had concealed other important details.

As part of an international campaign to target affluent and influential Kremlin friends in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, the Dutch minister of economic matters and environmental issues is still looking into any connections to Abramovich in light of the EU sanctions issued against the Russian oligarch in 2022.

According to the KNVB’s licencing committee, there were “risks” that sanctions had been broken and “indications” that Abramovich had controlled or was currently controlling Vitesse. It declared that it would watch for the ministry’s investigation’s results.

Vitesse said in a statement on their website that the deduction had been “inevitable,” citing a number of reasons such as their submission of false half-yearly financial data and their incapacity to provide proof of their lack of affiliation with Abramovich.

“Although this is a dark day for everything and everyone who cares about Vitesse, this is the harsh reality,” said Edwin Reijntjes, CEO of the club.

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