Holland axing promotion and relegation called ‘biggest disgrace in Dutch sport’

The decision to cancel the Dutch football season and bin promotion and relegation has been branded "the biggest disgrace in Dutch sport" by a second-tier coach.

Henk de Jong led Cambuur to a four-point lead at the summit of the Eerste Divisie and the Leeuwarden-based club were on the verge of promotion back to the top-flight for the first time since 2016.

However, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) decided to cancel the season on Friday after prime minister Mark Rutte announced that all matches were suspended until 1 September amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision meant that the current standings in the Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie were made final but no champions crowned and promotion and relegation scrapped.

Cambuur were also 11 points clear of third-place Volendam and, with the top two teams gaining automatic promotion, looked almost certain to secure their place in next season's Eredivisie.

And the decision to scrap promotion has infuriated de Jong, who told Dutch broadcaster NOS : "This feels like the biggest disgrace in the history of Dutch sports. I always intend to see the best in people and their decision-making, but this is unworthy of the sport.

"We had UEFA on our side, the clubs were on our side and we were 11 points ahead, so I don't know what happened. UEFA asked for fair decisions, but this isn't one."

The KNVB ruled out the possibility of adding the top two teams from the second tier to the top-flight to increase the division from 18 teams to a 20-team league. However, de Jong believes this would have been a better solution, with Eredivisie teams in the relegation zone offered a reprieve.

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