FC Twente board resigns amid scandal, possible they lose professional license

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FC Twente, one of the biggest clubs in the Netherlands and producer of some of the best European talent, has a high probability of losing its professional license, according to KNVB executive Bert van Oostveen.

“It is true that the club really hangs by a thread,”he told RTV Oost. “I’m not optimistic that Twente will play professional football next year. In fact,. Then I think more likely that they do not play it.”

On Tuesday, an independent report led by Ben Knüppe concluded that there was an “unhealthy culture” at Twente, and the club deliberately misinformed the KNVB about its relationship with Doyen Sports. In November, news broke that the club brokered a deal with Doyen that promised the company a cut of transfer fees in return for an investment. In addition, the leaked documents suggested that Doyen had significant say in club transfer policy, something which the club has refuted. Twente has already been banned from European play for three years by the KNVB.

The independent report suggested that the entire board step down in light of the findings. Today, the club announced they had followed that recommendation, with Director Gerald van den Belt and Joop de Winter stepping down immediately and Hennie ten Hag and Hein Trebbe to leave their posts next week. Chairman Aldo van der Laan resigned when the news broke in November.

The club also announced it has two months to meet governance structure guidelines laid out in the report, and should they fail to do so, their license would be revoked and the club would be unable to play professionally until the license is renewed or reinstated.

“My goal is that the club next season still has a license,” Interim Director Onno Jacobs said. “We are currently in receivership at the KNVB and the municipality of Enschede. We do not have everything in our own hands, but are doing everything to restore the health of the club.”

For any club, a scandal of this nature is not just embarrassing but potentially permanently damaging. However, for a club like Twente, which is known globally for producing young talent, grooming it to the professional level, and then profiting on the sale to larger clubs, it is particularly troubling.