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25th Jun 2024

Dutch football club barred from competing next season

Harry Warner

Vitesse Arnhem

They were a feeder club for Chelsea

Vitesse Arnhem have been barred from competing in the 2024/2025 Dutch league system after having their professional license revoked.

This follows on from the club failing to meet financial and regulatory requirements including providing a balanced budget and maintaining a bank account.

The banning of Vitesse from competing next season compounds the club’s misery who were relegated this year after finishing dead bottom of the Eredivisie, ending a 35-year long stay in the Dutch top flight.

Vitesse were also handed an 18 point deduction for failing to meet the requirements of the licensing regulations, however this was negligeable to the Dutch team’s overall tally which would still not have been enough to survive the drop.

Vitesse Arnhem

The club is due to appeal the decision after missing the already extended deadline to submit the relevant documentation to the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) on Monday.

A deadline had originally been set for May, but was extended until 24 June at which point the KNVB decided to take action.

The football association said that allowing Vitesse to participate under their current conditions would jeopardise its continuity and that a further postponement is out of the question with the new season fast approaching. 

Vitesse’s interim managing director, Edwin Reijntjes said: “It was in the line of expectation that such a decision would be made. We have not been able to provide the necessary information in time.”

“With the developments of the past few days we are looking forward to this process with confidence. We do not give up in the interest of the club, it is certainly not yet over.”

If Vitesse are not successful in their appeal, the club could end up staring down the barrel of almost certain bankruptcy, in a similar way to Belgian club Mouscron, who were declared bankrupt in May 2022 after having their licence revoked.

At 132-years old Vitesse are the second oldest club in the Netherlands and have intertwined history with Premier League side Chelsea.

Stars like Mason Mount and Nemanja Matic both had loan stints at the Dutch club, who had a deeper connection to Chelsea than just sharing players.

Vitesse Arnhem Mason Mount

Following an investigation from the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, it was found that former Chelsea owner and Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich was bank rolling the club with loans through a network of shell companies in offshore jurisdictions.

This was during a period where the last three owners of the club had been Russian oligarchs too and close friends of the former Chelsea owner.

The club’s struggles coincided with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2022, when European sanctions led to an exodus of Russian oligarchs selling up and leaving European businesses.

Vitesse have transferred the shares of their oligarch owner, Valeriy Oyf, to a new foundation, but the club have been unable to raise the funds require to balance their books in order to retain their license.