FC Emmen denies that it has offered an incentive premium to Fortuna Sittard. According to chairman Ronald Lubbers, there has only been contact between the players of both clubs. “They then submitted it to the management. But we said: it is simply not allowed, period”, Lubbers told ESPN shortly before the final round of the Eredivisie. “So this is not an issue at all.”
FC Emmen enters the last round of play as number 16 of the ranking, with 1 point less than Willem II. The team that finishes sixteenth must avoid relegation to the Kitchen Champion Division through the play-offs next week. Fortuna Sittard, opponent of Willem II, reported to the KNVB that FC Emmen had offered an incentive bonus of allegedly 25,000 euros as an extra motivation. That is contrary to the regulations. The KNVB submits the case to the prosecutor for professional football, who can initiate a preliminary investigation.
“Premium or not, you have to want to win every game,” said a Fortuna spokesperson. “That is also our approach to this game.” The Limburgers still have a minimal chance of participating in the play-offs for European football. Fortuna must then beat Willem II by large numbers and hope that the competitors Sparta Rotterdam and Heracles Almelo, who both have 3 points more, lose.
In the past it happened regularly that clubs promised each other incentive bonuses or offered goods through sponsors, as extra motivation. The KNVB has recently included in the regulations that clubs may not directly offer each other money or “one or more services that can be valued in money”. The adoption thereof is also included as unauthorized in the regulations (Article 57). “It is now up to the prosecutor to see what he does with this,” said the KNVB.
According to Lubbers, there is no official offer to Fortuna. “There has only been some buzz between players. It has not become that serious. Our board member Frank Maatje knows exactly what the rules are. He said that it is not allowed. So that is why the answer to the players was ‘no’.”
Willem II trainer Zeljko Petrovic does not believe Emmen’s story. “It’s spinning, spinning, spinning,” Petrovic said at ESPN. “That premium is 100 percent sure. We just don’t have it in black and white.”