Tottenham news: Dutch FA cancel Ajax and other Eredivisie games ahead of Champions League semi-final

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MATCHDAY CANCELLED

As a result, Ajax will have a week of rest before playing at White Hart Lane in the first leg on 30 April

In an effort to help Ajax in their Champions League semi-final against Tottenham, an entire weekend of Eredivisie fixtures have been cancelled ahead of the clash.

Dutch FA rules specify at least two days of rest between games and that all clubs play on the last two matchdays.

Ajax were set to play De Graafschap on Sunday, 28 April, then travel to Spurs for the first leg on Tuesday, 30 April. As it stands now, they play Vitesse on 23 April before a seven-day rest period.

Ajax will get an extended rest, with the Dutch FA taking the decision to postpone every fixture ahead of the Champions League semi-final

Ajax will get an extended rest, with the Dutch FA taking the decision to postpone every fixture ahead of the Champions League semi-final

“We have discussed various scenarios,” said Dutch FA (KNVB) technical director Eric Gudde on its website. “This decision has now been discussed with all clubs but they must of course still discuss this with the municipalities and the police.”

It said the change was needed because Ajax were in the Champions League semi-finals, the Dutch Cup final and challenging for the Eredivisie title – but stressed it was about player welfare and not a decision designed to give the team an advantage over the Premier League side.

Ajax win the 1995 Champions League final

Ajax, with Edwin van der Sar, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert, beat reigning European champions Milan in 1995

It added clubs agreed when the fixture list was compiled at the start of the season that changes may need to be made in ‘the very small chance that one of the clubs would go that far in the Champions League’.

“What is really nice is the reason why this was necessary — ​​the semi-final place of Ajax in the Champions League. Not only Ajax, but all Dutch football benefits from this.”

The regular Dutch league season will be extended to 15 May.

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Ajax are top of the Eredivisie table on goal difference from PSV Eindhoven, with both clubs on 74 points after 30 games. They are also in the Dutch Cup final, playing Willem II on 5 May.

Spurs, meanwhile, host West Ham on Saturday 27 April at 12.30pm in their bid to finish in the top four.

Ajax have beaten Real Madrid and Juventus en route to their first semi-final appearance in the Champions League since 1997. They won it in 1995 and secured three successive triumphs in the competition between 1971 and 1973.

Tottenham, who beat Manchester City in one of the most thrilling games ever, have not appeared in a European Cup semi-final since 1962 when they were beaten by Benfica. Since its re-branding as the Champions League in 1992, they had never previously made it past the quarter-finals.

Fernando Llorente’s goal was the decisive moment as Spurs beat Man City on away goals

Fernando Llorente’s goal was the decisive moment as Spurs beat Man City on away goals

The KNVB met clubs on Thursday to discuss the plans – and it admitted many were not happy about the change.

Gudde acknowledged it is impossible to satisfy everyone and explained why all fixtures had to be cancelled, not just De Graafschap v Ajax.

“That would mean that only this match was played after 12 May,” he said.

“Clubs and fans deserve a fair and as exciting as possible end to the competition, hence the starting point of playing simultaneously on the last two match days.

“Ajax plays for the championship and De Graafschap is in the danger zone for relegation. Not only would the denouement remain in one game that is played later, this also gives De Graafschap more time to prepare for this perhaps decisive game than the other relegation candidates.”

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