FC Twente avoid relegation from Eredivisie after appeal

Chairman of FC Twente Onno Jacobs speaks during a press conference at the Grolsch Veste Stadium in Enschede, the Netherlands on May 18, 2016.   
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Image: FC Twente chairman Onno Jacobs

FC Twente will play in the Eredivisie next season after a successful appeal against a decision to relegate the club as punishment for financial irregularities.

The issue dates back to February 2014 when the Dutch football federation (KNVB) told Twente to adjust their deal with investment company Doyen Sports because it had too much say in transfer contracts.

The KNVB said the contracts breached transfer market regulations. Twente's efforts to clean up their act afterwards only won them a licence to play in the second division Jupiler League, the KNVB said.

But Twente appealed the decision, despite a court ruling in favour of KNVB, and on Friday the KNVB's appeals committee ruled they may stay in the Eredivisie.

"FC Twente will keep their current licence to play paid-for football," the KNVB said in a statement, ending a two-year-long saga that had seen the KNVB revoke the club's licence for the Eredivisie championship on May 18.

Twente were, however, hit with a fine of 181,000 euros.

The KNVB's appeals committee said in a statement that although it agreed with the licensing committee on certain aspects, it "disagreed with its interpretation of Twente's statement in May that they had cleaned up their act".

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While fixing the mess, Twente were forced to reveal certain incriminating financial irregularities evidence. The appeals committee, which has the final word, ruled that the licensing committee should not have used those details as evidence to punish the club.

"We are incredibly relieved," Twente's interim director Onno Jacobs said at a press conference.

"Of course we're ashamed about what happened in the past - it was bad for the whole Netherlands and football. But we've cleaned up our act and would now like to close this chapter."

Meanwhile, former first division club De Graafschap said they were looking at taking legal steps to prevent them from being relegated to the Jupiler League.

De Graafschap - who were demoted after play-offs - could have remained in the Eredivisie if Twente's relegation had been upheld.

"The ruling by the appeals commission however is final which means that De Graafschap's relegation stays," the KNVB said.

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