Almere Magpies withdraws from big league!
ALMERE (Neth.) -
During a special meeting on Tuesday-evening, members of the Almere '90 baseball club supported the Board of the club to withdraw its main baseball team, Almere Magpies, from the Dutch Major League.
The Board stated that the costs to play baseball in the big league is irresponsible and might result in financial problems for the entire club.
Some 80 of the more than 250 clubmembers of Almere '90 attended the meeting.
Only six of them voted to keep the baseball-team in the big league.
About 30 members voted to play in the First Division.
The remaining attendees didn't vote.
During the sometimes emotional meeting, the Board of Almere '90 opted to play in the First Division ('Overgangsklasse') in 2011, despite the current financial situation.
It was stated that playing in the First Division also has its costs, as opponents are further away and less spectactors will visit the games, meaning less income.
Initially, there were several attendees in favor of remaining in the big league, but in the end, most of them didn't vote, as it might have led to a crisis in the board of the club.
Last season, Almere Magpies captured the title in the First Division and therefore earned the right to participate in the best-of-five Promotion/Relegation Play-Off vs. MediaMonks RCH, which finished in last place in the big league.
Several days after winning the title, on September 1, it was announced that Almere Magpies was initially not granted a licence to play in the big league by the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) in case of promotion to the highest level, due to financial insecurity.
Almere then stated that it handed in their figures of 2008, which came after a financial troublesome period in which the club built a considerable debt, which was created a year earlier.
Also, the 2008 figures were over the year following its relegation from the big league.
Almere appealed the decision of the KNBSB and the Jury of Appeal agreed with the club that it has the right to participate in promotion games, meaning the best-of-five started as scheduled.
To obtain a license, clubs has to comply with several criteria, such as the financial situation.
Almere won the Series vs. RCH 3-2 to promote to the big league.
Because of this result, the team was named Sports Team of the Year in the Municipality of Almere, as well as the Flevoland Province.
A few weeks later, on November 4, 2009, the complete Board of the Dutch Federation stepped down due to a conflict with its Jury of Appeal, regarding the case that handled the promotion of the baseball-team of Almere Magpies to the Dutch big league.
The ruling of the Jury of Appeal to agree with Almere resulted in a lack of trust between the two parties and eventually resulted in the stepping of the KNBSB-Board.
But now, a year later, Almere still has financial problems, partly as a result of its involvement in the World Championship Baseball 2005, when it was one of the co-hosts.
In recent weeks, it was hoped that the club could attract some sponsors, but only a few small sponsors were interested.
This season, Almere Magpies finished in last place and faced First Division-champion UVV from Utrecht in the Promotion/Relegation Series.
Almere swept UVV in three games to remain in the big league.
However, after completion of the season, it became clear that the financial situation at the club was still a problem.
Now that Almere Magpies has withdrawn from the big league, this probably means that UVV from Utrecht might take their place.