THE Eredivisie – the top tier of football in the Netherlands – has been abandoned for the season with no title winner and no teams relegated.
The move comes after the national government banned major events until 1 September because of coronavirus.
Dutch football’s governing body the KNVB said “it has become impossible to play out the 2019-20 season”.
Ajax led the table from AZ Alkmaar on goal difference with nine games left but will not be named champions.
Both Ajax and AZ Alkmaar will go into the Champions League qualifying stages, pending ratification by Uefa.
No sides will be relegated or promoted, meaning Cambuur – who topped the second tier and held an 11-point gap over the play-off positions – will not go up.
Cambuur head coach Henk de John told broadcaster NOS the decision felt “like the biggest disgrace in the history of Dutch sport”.
The KNVB added: “The KNVB is aware that whatever decision had to be made, every option would hurt somewhere.
“It will be crystal clear to everyone involved, from supporters and players to directors and referees, that public health always comes first.
“Nevertheless, the professional football board is aware that today’s decisions will cause great disappointment in football for some.”
More than 4,000 people have died so far from the coronavirus in the Netherlands.
The Eredivisie has never ended a season without a champion being named since it was formed in 1956.
The KNVB added that clubs could not be promoted from the second tier without relegation from the top division, in order to ensure there was no fixture congestion next season.
The body said it consulted with the parties involved and asked them to vote for “no relegation and no promotion” or “relegation and promotion” – but the result returned “no clear preference”, resulting in the KNVB being left to take the decision.
“Because many rounds still have to be played in the competitions, we believe that we cannot apply promotion/relegation and that is decided,” the KNVB added.
Third-place Feyenoord will qualify for the Europa League group stages, with fourth-placed PSV and fifth-placed Willem II entering the qualifying stages of the competition, subject to Uefa’s approval.
The Eredivisie Women has also been cancelled without a champion being named, with a Champions League place being awarded to league leaders PSV, while second-placed Ajax enter the qualifying stages.
Football authorities in neighbouring Belgium are expected to decide whether to ratify the cancellation of its top-flight Pro League on Friday.