FEYENOORD FAVOURING APPEAL

It is highly likely that Feyenoord will appeal the punishment imposed on the club by the Uefa Appeals Committee in response to incidents at the club’s match at AS Nancy at the end of November. Although Feyenoord’s management has yet to receive the reasoning behind the ruling, the inclination is to fight the club’s exclusion from this season’s Uefa Cup competition. That’s according to financial manager Onno Jacobs, whose statement to that effect was received with loud applause at Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Feyenoord Supporters Platform.

The club looks forward to receiving Uefa’s reasoning within the next few days. Only after studying it closely will Feyenoord take a final decision on any further steps. At this juncture, the club favours taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. ‘We would like to have this ruling reviewed by a court,’ said Jacobs. ‘Based on the facts, we do not feel that we should be punished. If there has to be a punishment, it should not in our opinion be in this form. We have thought about cutting our losses, but the predominant feeling is that the club has been wronged. We expect to be able to provide greater clarity at the end of the week, after we have closely studied the reasoning.’

If Feyenoord does decide to appeal, there may be consequences for this season’s Uefa Cup. If CAS accepts the urgent nature of the appeal, Feyenoord may be given the green light to stage its match against Tottenham Hotspur after all. Marketing Manager Chris Woerts said that preparations are well underway at the English club. ‘As long as there is a lack of clarity from Uefa, they are assuming that the match will take place. They are currently organising the match. Depending on the appeal, we will also start preparing for the match.’

The reaction from the 80-strong audience made it clear that the management’s position is one that the supporters are delighted to stand behind. One fan lucidly explained why Feyenoord has to appeal. ‘I really feel that you have to go on and not throw in the towel. Otherwise it’s like admitting guilt.’ In response Jacobs confirmed that those were ‘feelings that we share.’

The atmosphere was a positive one at the Feyenoord Supporters Platform. Under the banner ‘towards one Feyenoord’, Woerts unfolded the club’s plans with respect to changes to the management structure, the new stadium and the centenary year. Feyenoord will be marking its centenary with a golden season ticket offering admission to all league matches for a period of two seasons, as well as three major centenary events. Woerts also revealed that the club is to introduce a club membership along the lines of those at Barcelona and Benfica (which is the biggest such scheme, with 167,000 members). ‘We are studying the possibility of bringing in voting rights’, explained Woerts, who also announced that the club newspaper would be replaced by a new glossy magazine next season.

Jacobs clarified the annual figures and fielded some questions before Peter Bosz took the mike to talk about the club’s technical strategy. The result was a lively discussion. The technical manager also ran through the club’s technical plan, the main tenet of which is greater focus on scouting and youth development.

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