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Updated: October 29, 2021
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Henk Seppen)

New structure: Dutch Major League becomes closed League; Storks stays in big league

NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) - The Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) on Friday (October 29) announced that the clubs that play in the Dutch Major League and the KNBSB have reached an agreement for a multi-year traject for the structure of the Dutch Major League for the coming three to five years.

...Spectators at a home-game...
...of Amsterdam Pirates...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
It was also agreed that the Dutch Major League will become a closed league from 2022. That not only means that no team can relegate, but also that no team from the First Division can promote. Clubs that are interested to play in the highest division can do so, but have to comply with the minimal quality requirements that are associated with playing the big league. In that case, the league can be expanded.

The idea to close the highest league is not completely new. Already in the early seventies, this idea was first opted. Now, some fifty years later, this will become a reality.

The clubs and the KNBSB also agreed to maintain Silicon Storks in the big league and to give the club the opportunity to play in the highest division as ninth team in 2022. On October 17, Storks relegated from the big league to the First Division after losing the Promotion/Relegation Series against RCH-Pingu´ns, which therefore promoted.

Due to the new developments, the KNBSB-Board decided to extend the transfer-period in baseball. Initially, that was to end on November 15, but that has now been extended to November 30.

Beneath is the complete announcement by the KNBSB, as published on Friday (October 29):

,,The big league-clubs and the KNBSB have agreed on a multi-year development trajectory for the baseball big league. This should lead to an improvement and professionalization of the entire competition and participating clubs, with the positive result of more attractive games at a high level and an impulse for the sport.

For many years there has been talk about improving the Baseball Hoofdklasse, the flagship of baseball in the Netherlands and the best competition in Europe. In recent months, various stakeholders have discussed the future of the Baseball Hoofdklasse, the role of the competition in the visibility and level of the sport and how to develop it positively. Valuable information has been obtained from the interviews and surveys and many suggestions have been made.

These discussions led to a collective meeting on Tuesday 5 October 2021 where an outline was presented for the development of the Dutch big league over the next 3 to 5 years.

Based on the presented objectives and the statement 'The Baseball Hoofdklasse is Topsport', it has been concluded that the whole (clubs, KNBSB, participants; players, coaches and officials, etc.) must become stronger/better with a quality impulse upwards and no leveling in the middle.

The foregoing requires an integrated plan and far-reaching regulation of the competition. This plan is being drawn up and will contain several themes that are important for the desired quality boost, such as a top sports environment, (technical) staff and talent development. Promotion and commerce and sponsoring will also be part of this. It has been jointly decided to develop and evaluate the participating teams/clubs in the Baseball Hoofdklasse in the future along a line of conditions & minimum quality requirements. It has been agreed to make these conditions & minimum quality requirements concrete in co-creation (clubs involved and KNBSB), to make them SMART and objectively verifiable.

In concrete terms, this means for participating clubs that not only the sportive performance will be decisive for participation in the Baseball Hoofdklasse, but that the club will also be judged on other criteria. In the spring of 2022, this will be laid down in a covenant to be signed by all clubs.

This quality boost requires more and more structural funding for the clubs. Continuity in the Dutch big league is important for this. Therefore, the involved clubs and the KNBSB have chosen to close the Baseball Hoofdklasse from 2022 on, which means that there is no promotion/relegation. However, clubs can enter or leave the Baseball Hoofdklasse on the basis of the minimum quality requirements.

It was jointly decided to maintain Storks for the Baseball Hoofdklasse and to give it the opportunity to participate as 9th team in the Baseball Hoofdklasse in 2022. One of the first things that is being worked on is to put together a competition with 9 teams which offers relevant games throughout the season.

Finally, the KNBSB-board has decided that as a result of this change, the transfer period for all baseball leagues will be extended this year. This transfer period stands for other competitions from October 16 to November 15, but because the plans for the big league 2022 have changed, it has been decided to extend the transfer period this time until November 30. This extension only applies to the Baseball leagues.''

(October 29)

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