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Dutch FA investigates racist chants at match

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch soccer association says it is investigating racist chants that prompted a referee to briefly suspend a second-division match.

The association, known as the KNVB, says “unfortunately, racism is a problem in society that sometimes raises its head in soccer.”

The incident happened during Sunday’s match between FC Den Bosch and Excelsior Rotterdam. The KNVB says its protocol for offensive chants “was correctly implemented” when referee Laurens Gerrets took the players off the field after 30 minutes of play following chants directed at Excelsior player Ahmad Mendes Moreira, who is black.

In a statement on the club’s website, Mendes Moreira says “from the first minute all kinds of things were shouted at me and it hurts a lot.”

The KNVB says it is working with FC Den Bosch to track down and punish those responsible for the chants.

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.

FC Twente president steps down amid investigation of transfer deals

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Aldo Van der Laan, the President of Dutch club FC Twente, has stepped down after allegations of shady transfer dealings have surfaced.

This week, a website posted a contract dated 2014 between Van der Laan and Malta-based Doyen Sports Investments that saw a payment of $5.3 million from the company to the club in exchange for between 10 and 50 percent of the transfer rights to seven Twente players.

In a statement on its official website, the club said “Van der Laan has stated that the club is always of paramount importance to him, and that is now in jeopardy. Continuing doubt about him harms FC Twente.” The statement went on to say the Dutch federation (KNVB) is investigating, and that the club will cooperate.

FIFA outlawed third-party ownership of players to keep outside forces from influencing transfer deals. The alleged contract posted is dated before the FIFA ruling went into effect, but the KNVB has outlawed third-party ownership for a while.

According to Dutch reports, five of the seven players listed on the contract have already been sold, including current Southampton midfielder Dusan Tadic. The contract states that the two remaining players, Shadrach Eghan (with the first team) and Kyle Ebecilio (on loan at Championship club Nottingham Forest) must be sold by the end of the season, or the club must pay a $1.48 million fine to Doyen.

Those same reports also suggest Twente is likely to see some form of sanction, with some serious possibilities including relegation, a large points deduction, or a transfer ban as long as two years.