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Dutch pro soccer clubs face severe financial distress

Rescue plans for Willem II and MVV

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - Fourteen of 37 professional soccer clubs that are part of the Premier and the First leagues of the Netherlands have financial problems, sports analysts say. The Vermeend Commission, charged with investigating the financial health of Dutch professional soccer clubs, reported recently that Dutch clubs "must work really hard to get their finances in order," adding, that and unless something is done, that number will increase.

Some sources say that the Vermeend Commissionís warning is serious and that the number of clubs that have their financial house in order numbers no more than six.

Just in the past few weeks Premier League club Willem II was bailed out by the Tilburg municipality when it reduced the rent for its soccer stadium. Tilburg also that there will be no more public money available in the future. It expects the business community to pick up the balance of the substantial shortfall.

In Maastricht, the cityís municipal council came to the rescue of MVV by taking stadium De Geusselt of its hands and by canceling a significant debt, for a total of over 3.5 million euros. The deal has a number of stringent conditions which MVV may find hard to meet.

Two Dutch clubs went bankrupt this season, first 120-year old HFC Haarlem, followed last month by BV Veendam. Both clubs played in the First League.