Rent row shadow on Dutch top-flight Vitesse


Stadium without lease problems in Arnheim Image: Vitesse Arnheim

Uncertainty shrouds the future of the Dutch professional football club SBV Vitesse (Netherlands) as a clear picture has still not emerged whether the Eredivisie club will be able to retain its license as a professional football club.

Vitesse’s rent row with their home stadium (GelreDome) landlord Michael van de Kuit van Nedstede since the year 2018 simply refuses to die out and the whole rent issue is hanging like the sword of Damocles over them.

‘NETHERLANDS POSTS ENGLISH’ stated that Vitesse does not meet the license requirements of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) for the next season. Vitesse does not have a lease agreement in place as regards their home ground and one of the criteria of KNVB is that the Dutch football clubs must have a lease agreement in place as regards their home venues.

SBV Vitesse Arnhem, widely known as Vitesse or internationally as well Vitesse Arnhem, is a Dutch professional football club located in the Municipality of Arnhem in the Eastern part of Netherlands. Established on May 14th, 1892, Vitesse is one of the oldest professional football clubs in the Eredivisie (the highest level of professional football in the Netherlands).

The 34,000-capacity GelreDome is a football stadium in the City of Arnhem, Netherlands. It is one of the largest and most modern stadiums in the country, and the construction timespan of the arena was from 1996 to 1998 at a cost equivalent to €75 million. The arena got off the ground on March 25th, 1998. The stadium has been the home of association football club Vitesse Arnhem since 1998.

Zeist (Netherlands)-based the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) is the governing body of football in the Netherlands. It organizes the main Dutch football leagues, the amateur leagues, the KNVB Cup, and the Dutch men’s and women’s national teams’ matchups.

‘NETHERLANDS POSTS ENGLISH’ further stated that SBV Vitesse has been at loggerheads with the landlord Michael van de Kuit van Nedstede since the year 2018. In 2018, Vitesse decided not to sign future lease agreement with van Nedstede (their present lease agreement expires on September 30th) because the top-notch was very much dissatisfied with the annual rent of 1.85 million euros they pay for the facility. The top flight wanted the rent to come down but the real estate magnate was in no mood to listen to them.

NVB Lease Rules

As per KNVB regulations, Dutch clubs must inform the football body every year latest by February “whether they have a home stadium in Netherlands for playing professional football fixtures”.

Rent Row

A lawsuit is pending as regards the above rent row, but a judgment is not expected before October 1st and Vitesse’s lease agreement expires on September 30th.

A club spokesperson informed that for the above reason Vitesse is initiating summary proceedings to be able to continue playing football in GelreDome while the proceedings are on, and even after the lease expires.

The intended new club owner of Vitesse, Coley Parry, is letting out very little information about himself which is why van Nedstede is reluctant to hold any parleys with him over the rent issue.

If Vitesse and the owner of GelreDome do not reach any agreement in the near future, the club can still fall back on an alternative arrangement. It can temporarily play in another stadium. In such a scenario, the situation will be akin to that of their peer team AZ Alkmaar when the top-notch club was forced to play in the 15,000-capacity ADO Den Haag Stadium in the Hague, Netherlands, in the year 2019 because the roof of their digs – the 19,500-capacity AFAS Stadium in Alkmaar, Netherlands – had caved in.

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