Football summit meets for BeNeLiga: clubs go for ten European tickets

Directors of six Dutch and five Belgian professional clubs meet on Friday for new consultation about the BeNeLiga. In the Philips Stadium, the question is on the table whether there is any enthusiasm to continue exploring the feasibility of a Belgian-Dutch competition in the coming six months.

In line with expectations, Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV, AZ, FC Utrecht and Vitesse together with AA Gent, Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Racing Genk and Standard Liege give the green light for extra research, carried out by consultant Deloitte.

250 to 400 million

In this so-called ‘fourth phase of research’, which will run until 31 December, it should become clear exactly how much money can be earned with TV contracts. It is also necessary to clarify the distribution of European tickets.

Research in earlier phases showed that the entire professional football in the Low Countries would benefit sportily and financially from an amalgamation of both leagues. In January, during the last meeting about the Beneliga, Deloitte calculated that between 250 and 400 million euros could be earned from TV contracts and marketing.

If the clubs agree on Friday to continue with the feasibility study, it is expected that the step towards UEFA will be taken to find out what the European Association thinks about the BeNeLiga.

Obstacles

So far, UEFA, which has to give permission for a cross-border competition, has not pronounced itself on this theme.

There are still a lot of obstacles to a joint competition anyway. Distributing European tickets is one of the hottest hurdles. Nobody wants to make concessions in the number of starting tickets for lucrative tournaments such as the Champions League.

Currently both the Netherlands and Belgium have five European tickets. The question is to what extent UEFA is willing to give the BeNeLiga more starting tickets than top leagues like England, Spain or Germany (with seven tickets).

Earlier this year a BeNeLiga working document came into the hands of the CCeit. This document talked about seven European tickets. Disclaimer: this is a draft version.

The idea of going for ten tickets doesn’t come out of the blue. There are also plans in the Balkans and Ireland for joint competitions with neighbouring countries, including a construction to retain all current European starting tickets for the individual countries.

Friday morning, from 11.00 am, a merger of the Dutch and Belgian leagues will be on the table again when the directors of the Belgian and Dutch clubs meet. Also representatives of Deloitte, KNVB, Eredivisie, Jupiler Pro League and the Belgian Federation will be present.