Netherlands Eerste divisie
The Eredivisie ("Honor Division" or "Premier Division") is the highest level of professional football in the Netherlands. The league was founded in 1956, two years after the start of professional football in the Netherlands. As of the 2018/19 season, it is the 11th best league in Europe ranked by UEFA.
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The Oberliga consists of 18 clubs. Each club meets twice during the season every other club, once at home and once abroad. At the end of each season, the lowest club is automatically relegated to the second tier of the Dutch league system, the Eerste Divisie (First Division). At the same time, the Master of the Eerste Divisie is automatically promoted to Eredivisie. The next two clubs from the lower part of the Eredivisie deny separate promotion / relegation playoffs with eight high-ranking clubs from the Eerste Divisie.
The winner of the Eredivisie wins the Dutch championship. Ajax Amsterdam has won the most titles, 25 (34 national titles). PSV Eindhoven follows with 21 (24) and Feyenoord Rotterdam with 10 (15). Since 1965, these three clubs have won all but three Eredivisie titles (the titles of 1981 and 2009 went to AZ and FC Twente won the title of 2010). Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord are known as the "Big Three" of Dutch football. They are the only ones in their present form that have appeared in every edition of the Eredivisie since its inception. A fourth club, FC Utrecht, is the result of a 1970 merger between three clubs in the city, one of which, VV DOS, also never relegated from the Eredivisie.
From 1990 to 1999 was the official name of the league PTT Telecompetitie (after the sponsor PTT Telecom), which in KPN Telecompetitie (because PTT Telecom 1999 changed the name to KPN Telecom) and in KPN Eredivisie was changed in 2000 2002-2005 was called the League Holland Casino Eredivisie. Since the 2005/06 season, the league is sponsored by the sponsor lottery, but for legal reasons its name could not be linked to the league (the Dutch government opposed it because the Eredivisie would do so after sponsoring Holland Casino) again sponsored by a company that offers gambling). On August 8, 2012 it was announced that tycoon Rupert Murdoch had secured the rights to the Eredivisie for 12 years at the cost of 1 billion euros, starting in the 2013/14 season. Under the terms of the agreement, the five largest Eredivisie clubs would receive EUR 5 million per year for the duration of the contract.
From the founding of the Dutch National Football Championship in 1898 to 1954, the title was decided by play-offs from a handful of clubs that had previously won their regional league. The competition was a pure amateur competition. The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) denied any form of payment and suspended players who were caught on receipt of salary or transfer fees. The call for professional football grew in the early fifties, after many members of the national team had gone abroad in search of financial benefits. The KNVB would normally block these players to prevent them from appearing for the Dutch national team. After the North Sea flood of 1953 organized the Dutch players abroad (mainly in the French league), a charity match against the French national team in Paris. The game was boycotted by the KNVB, but after the assembled Dutch players defeated the French (2-1), the Dutch audience experienced the highlights that could be achieved through professional football. To meet the growing interest, a dissident professional football association (NBVB) and a league were founded for the season 1954/55. On 3 July 1954, the KNVB met with a group of concerned amateur club presidents, who feared that the best players would be included in the professional teams. The meeting, which was called "slaapkamerconferentie" ("bedroom meeting"), meant that the association was reluctant to accept semiprofessionalism.
In the meantime, both KNVB and NBVB have started their own competition. The first professional football game was played between Alkmaar and Venlo. The leagues continued for eleven rounds before a merger between the two associations was negotiated in November. Both leagues were canceled and immediately there was a new, combined competition. De Graafschap, Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Fortuna '54 from the NBVB were admitted to the new league. Other clubs merged, leading to new names such as Rapid J.C., Holland Sport and Roda Sport. The first (semi-) professional league was won by Willem II. For the 1956/57 season, the KNVB abandoned the regional league system. The Eredivisie was founded, in which the eighteen best clubs nationwide struggled directly without playoffs for the championship title. The founder members of the Eredivisie in 1956 were Ajax, BVC, BVV, DOS, EVV, Elinkwijk, SC Enschede, Feijenoord, Fortuna '54, GVAV, MVV, NAC, NOAD, PSV, Rapid JC, Sparta, VVV, Ajax.
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