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Irritated Ajax want Dutch league called off

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Irritated Ajax want Dutch league called off



FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Finals and Semi Finals Draw - Nyon, Switzerland - March 15, 2019. Ajax director of football Marc Overmars before the draw. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse


AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam technical director Marc Overmars on Wednesday expressed astonishment at plans to try to complete the Dutch league season and compared the country’s football association and UEFA to Donald Trump.


His irritated reaction came after the Dutch football association (KNVB) issued a statement saying it would follow UEFA’s direction to attempt to finish the season suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak by Aug. 3.


“Why would it be about money and not people’s well-being at this time? I had hoped that the KNVB would take an independent decision, but they are now hiding behind UEFA,” Overmars told Dutch daily De Telegraaf.


The KNVB was among 55 members of European football’s governing body who on Wednesday discussed possible next steps for football on the continent following the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


The KNVB issued a statement saying it would follow UEFA’s desire to try and complete the season, even if it meant re-starting the suspended campaign in mid-June and playing through into August.


"I have a lot of difficulty understanding that,” Overmars said.


"We in the Netherlands are not as dependent on television rights incomes as the leagues in Spain, England, Italy and Germany are.


"I think that they had been put under big pressure by UEFA to continue playing at whatever cost," added the former Barcelona and Arsenal winger.


"I’m comparing the KNVB and UEFA with the sentiments of American president Donald Trump a week ago when he thought the economy was more important than the coronavirus.


"Hallo! There are more than a 100 people dying daily in the Netherlands because of the coronavirus."


Overmars said this season’s Dutch league should be declared finished.


“The league is dead, life is more important.”


The league was suspended last month with Ajax top of the standings on goal difference from AZ Alkmaar with nine matches each left to play.

Ajax were champions last season.


(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-04-02
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