Dutch clubs have pulled out of a historic merger with top Belgian clubs this weekend, raising new doubts about many similar projects in the UK.
Last spring, 25 members of the Belgian Pro League voted unanimously to form the new “BeNeLiga”.
In a new setting, he will link top teams such as Anderlecht, Club Brook and Royal Antwerp with Ajax and Feyenoord.
It has also attracted Celtic and Rangers fans, with figures from both clubs for many years showing interest in crossing borders and getting involved in the Premier League.
Steven Gerrard lovingly touched on the matter as director of iBrox in January 2020, and later that year Dermat Desmond, Barclays’ largest shareholder, said that football consumption could claim ownership of the new digital age “British League”.
There is a “Atlantic League” program that could bring in hips, hearts and Aberdeen with teams from Ireland and the Nordic countries.
In the lowlands, there were reports from the Netherlands on Friday that Eredivisie’s top teams had been attacked in the BeNeLiga, which was quickly confirmed by a match report.
“The big clubs in the Netherlands – Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord, FC Utrecht, Vitesse and Arizona – decided on Wednesday that there was not enough support between them and other Dutch clubs to establish BeNeLiga,” the report said.
In recent months, there has been intense research into whether BeNeLiga is possible with a ‘split season model’.
In early March, the Dutch-Belgian delegation chaired the UEFA Summit, chaired by Alexander Seferin.
“The big Dutch clubs have stopped the project now because Dutch football does not have the necessary support. Dutch football is now developing the action plan as one of the next steps towards Eredivisie.
Various Dutch outlets have confirmed that parties on the BeNeLiga side, such as FC Groningen, have also been consulted – and have not.
International football The whole thing was a ploy, at least from the Dutch side, to implement the Eredivisie reforms that would make the Eredivisie system easier and bring in more revenue.
Meanwhile, comments coming from beyond the borders of the Flemish city of Kent point to a number of problems with the project.
Yvan de Witt, President of the KAA Gent: “A missed opportunity. Belgian clubs could certainly have elevated their position on BeNeLiga.
“I was a big supporter of the BeNeLiga concept, but I also doubted its potential.
“I always doubt that the Netherlands will be able to garner enough votes. I think some Dutch clubs are leaning towards BeNeLiga.
“I have a lot of respect and sympathy for the courage and work ethic of the fans, but there were many obstacles. Think of the number of European tickets, deals and security-level challenges.
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Of course there have been many improvements since the announcement of the BeNeLiga, the first Sydney Super Cup friendly between the Celtic and Rangers in the Super League.
It remains to be seen whether the Premier League affair will resurface in the coming years.
But after the developments in the lower countries Europe’s largest case study in this matter is no longer receiving a positive reading.
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