Dutch Soccer Team Banned From European Competition Until 2019

  • FC Twente sanctioned over contracts with Malta's Doyen Sports
  • Netherlands soccer federation also threatens to revoke license

The Netherlands’ FC Twente has been banned from European competition for three seasons because its contracts with investment fund Doyen Sports broke longstanding international soccer rules.

The club won’t appeal the Dutch soccer federation’s sanctions, it said in a statement on its website. It also agreed to cooperate with an independent investigation into its financing under the threat of losing its soccer license, and to pay a fine of 45,250 euros ($49,454).

The 2010 Dutch champion is the first team to face sanctions after many of Doyen’s financial documents, including details of its contract with Twente, were leaked onto the Internet. The club’s chairman resigned in November.

Global governing body FIFA has said it’s looking into several agreements connected to Malta-based Doyen, which has repeatedly said it follows regulations in all the countries it operates in.

"FC Twente has suppressed some additions in the contract with investment company Doyen Sports and thereby deliberately misled the license commission," Dutch soccer federation KNVB said in a statement.

FC Twente has until May 1 to implement any changes required as a result of the independent investigation.

Twente entered into partnership with Doyen in 2014. At the time, it provided details of the agreement to the KNVB’s licensing authority but failed to inform the commission of amendments to the contracts made a year later, according to the soccer federation.

"The core of our club football is being hit hard,” said Twente. The team won its first Dutch championship in 2010; it is currently No. 16 out of 18 teams in the Netherlands’ top division. "In the coming seasons, we will not be allowed to participate in European football. That hurts. Not only for players and staff, but also to our supporters, sponsors, volunteers and all others who stand wholeheartedly behind FC Twente."

The leaked documents seem to show that the fund has invested more than 60 million euros ($63.3 million) in soccer since entering the market in 2011. By investing in players’ contracts, TPO funds like Doyen gave clubs financial support in exchange for a stake in a player’s future trade value.

Doyen has been involved in some of soccer’s biggest deals in recent times, including profiting from Manchester City’s 42-million-pound ($63.7 million) purchase of Eliaquim Mangala, the most expensive defender in British history.

The fund is not required to make public filings, so its exact size is unknown. 

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