More than forty years after the Dutch football league structure saw a massive change as a host of clubs were forced to return to the amateur ranks and the third tier of professional football was disbanded, there are plans to re-instate this division. Voetbal International report today that after years of  research there could finally be a solution that suits both the professional clubs and those in the amateur ranks.

  • By Nick van Ruiven
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knvb djhdjdMajor changes include a formation of new nationwide (semi-pro) division which is to be implemented in between the Jupiler League (current 2nd and lowest professional tier) and Topklasse (top amateur tier) and the end of the separate reserve leagues. Like in Germany and Spain the reserve sides will be put into the lower senior ranks which would see those sides face stronger opposition. As part of the so-called project Jupiler League 2.0 the reserve sides of Ajax, PSV and FC Twente are already playing in the Jupiler League and if those plans were to go ahead the other reserve sides will follow suit and be integrated within the new nationwide division, Topklasse and the six Hoofdklasse leagues (second amateur tier).

If this new pyramid gets the green light it will be in force as of the 2016/17 season and therefore the league set up will be confirmed after the 2015/16 season. The new nationwide division will consist of 18 teams. The four highest finishing reserve sides in next season’s campaign will go into the new division, among the seven highest finishers in the Saturday and Sunday Topklasse leagues. All other reserve teams will be put into the Topklasse and Hoofdklasse leagues based on their league position.

Other changes include the number of players that have full-pro contracts in the Topklasse and the newly formed divsion, stadium capacity, floodlight wattage. Some of those regulations have prevented amateur sides from using their right to get promoted from the Topklasse to the Jupiler League, so it seems the Dutch FA has finally listened to those calls and adjusted these rules in order to ensure a healthier football climate.




Nick Van Ruiven (35 Posts)