The first game of the new premier league season between FC Utrecht and AZ will not take place next Saturday. The KNVB has postponed the game at the request of AZ. According to FC Utrecht, the game will be overtaken on 27 December.
The Alkmaarders had asked for a postponement in order to better prepare for the game with Dinamo Kiev in the third preliminary round of the Champions League. That game in Kiev is three days later, on Tuesday 15 September.
The KNVB speaks of a difficult decision: “We understand that this is annoying for the supporters and for FC Utrecht on such a short term. We have granted AZ’s request because two years ago, as part of the change agenda, we jointly decided with all clubs to give European playing clubs as much priority as possible”
FC Utrecht says in a reaction that they are “enormously disappointed” with the decision-making process. “The fact that the KNVB decided to postpone this match so soon before the kick-off is incomprehensible and disappointing to us. Especially in these times, when so many preparations have to be made within the framework of the Covid-19 protocols”, says general director Thijs van Es.
Van Es says Utrecht of course gives AZ all the space it needs to prepare optimally for the match in Ukraine, but he is surprised that this scenario was not thought up three weeks earlier. “The fact that it is now decided to postpone next Saturday’s match leaves us bewildered.”
‘Importance of Dutch football’
AZ decided to submit a request for postponement because there was insufficient rest and preparation time between 12 and 15 September for the important European duel at Dinamo Kiev.
“After consultation with the Eredivisie and the KNVB, the federation was receptive to our request”, responds general director Robert Eenhoorn of AZ. “It is understood that postponing this match not only serves the interests of AZ, but the interests of Dutch football as a whole”