CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Van Gaal says "winners must be decided on the pitch"

The former Ajax and AZ Alkmaar coach has criticized suggestions that the reigning champions retain their title with the Eredivisie sides locked on points.

Coronavirus: Van Gaal says "winners must be decided on the pitch"
BAS CZERWINSKI AFP

Former Barcelona and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has criticised clubs that want to bring an early end to league football across Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic for looking after their own interests.

"In football, the winner is decided on the pitch," Van Gaal told Netherlands daily Algemeen Dagblad. "There are clubs that are using the coronavirus for their own benefit," the veteran tactician said, citing Ajax's request to call a halt to the Eredivisie now with the reigning champions currently top of the table on goal difference from AZ Alkmaar. Van Gaal can be considered an impartial observer in this case, having coached both clubs during his career. 

"UEFA and FIFA are open to adjusting the rules and offering a bit of leeway," Van Gaal continued. "That's fine, let's start working on that." 

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Van Gaal: Ajax cannot be declared champions

UEFA and the Eredivisie are looking at restarting the Dutch leagues in the second half of June but Ajax have opposed the idea. Marc Overmars, the club's sporting director, has claimed that the institutions are putting financial benefits ahead of safety concerns. Van Gaal agreed that no games should be staged until "the coronavirus has been beaten."  

"It cannot be the case that after 25 games there is a mechanism that makes Ajax champions. AZ Alkmaar have the same number of points and the season is only three-quarters finished. Does that not matter? It makes no sense."  

The Belgian Pro League has already suggested calling an end to the 2019-20 season and naming current leaders Club Brugge champions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.