KNVB postpones Ajax game to boost Real Madrid preparations

PSV and PEC Zwolle have criticised a KNVB decision to move an Eredivisie match for Ajax ahead of its Champions League game at Real Madrid.

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana   -  Getty Images

Ajax has had its Eredisive match against PEC Zwolle, which was set to be played three days ahead of a Champions League trip to Real Madrid, postponed by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB).

The Amsterdam giant lost 2-1 at home in the first leg of the last-16 tie and is due to go to the Santiago Bernabeu for the return meeting with the Champions League holders on March 5.

Ajax was scheduled for Eredivisie action at home to PEC the weekend before, but that match will now be played on March 13 following a KNVB announcement.

"In the interest of Dutch football, we have agreed with all clubs prior to this season to take into account as much as possible the European obligations of the Dutch clubs," said manager of competition affairs Jan Bluyssen. 

"Ajax are still the only club this season that can win the points for the UEFA coefficient list on behalf of Dutch football, so we will take that into account as agreed.

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"We realise that the start time of 18:30 on a weekday is unfavourable for the supporters of PEC Zwolle, but because it is a Champions League evening, it cannot be otherwise."

However, PEC chairman Adriaan Visser said his club - who are in danger of being relegated from the Eredivisie - refuse to accept the change in the fixture date.

"This is just a distortion of competition and totally unacceptable to us," Visser told De Stentor. "The KNVB must ensure an orderly course of our competition. As a result, we suddenly have three games in a week, unlike other league rivals.

Referee Damir Skomina, who disallowed an Ajax goal against Real Madrid after a VAR check   -  Getty Images

 

"And then we are not even talking about how our supporters are disadvantaged by moving the game to an early time on a weekday. This is a worthless decision.

"Jan Bluyssen contacted us and asked if we would see it as an option to move our meeting with Ajax with a good result from Ajax if they had a good result. Ajax lost. That is not good result. And anyway, even with a good result we did not agree. I immediately said that.

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"Apparently, the KNVB, after permission from UEFA and the municipality of Amsterdam, has decided to publish the press release immediately.

"There is also no alternative with us, such as moving Ajax's cup game with Feyenoord [on February 27] or our game against Excelsior [on March 17]. This is ridiculous and we will not let this happen."

Eredisive leader PSV, which is four points clear of Ajax in the title race after 22 matches, is also unimpressed with the KNVB's decision.

"The rules are suddenly changed during the competition. As a result, the competition is influenced in various ways," PSV director Toon Gerbrands told Eindhovens Dagblad.

"We were treated like small children when we asked for clarification. This is decided by Jan Bluyssen, the competition manager. Consultation was no longer possible.

"This is a bad thing for both the teams at the bottom of the competition and at the top."