Eredivisie

The Eredivisie (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈeːrədivizi]; "Honour Division" or "Premier Division") is the highest level of professional football in the Netherlands. The league was founded in 1956, two years after the start of professional football in the Netherlands. It is considered one of the best European leagues and widely regarded as one of the better leagues in the world. As of the 2020–21 season, it is ranked the 7th best league in Europe by UEFA.[1]

Eredivisie
Organising bodyKNVB
Founded1956; 65 years ago (1956)
CountryNetherlands
ConfederationUEFA
Number of teams18
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toEerste Divisie
Domestic cup(s)
International cup(s)
Current championsAjax (35th title)
(2020–21)
Most championshipsAjax (35 titles)
Most appearancesPim Doesburg (687)
Top goalscorerWilly van der Kuijlen (311)
TV partnersList of broadcasters
WebsiteEredivisie.nl
Current: 2021–22 Eredivisie

The Eredivisie consists of 18 clubs. Each club meets every other club twice during the season, once at home and once away. At the end of each season, the two clubs at the bottom are automatically relegated to the second level of the Dutch league system, the Eerste Divisie (First Division), while the champion and runner-up of the Eerste Divisie are automatically promoted to the Eredivisie. The club finishing third from the bottom of the bottom of the Eredivisie goes to separate promotion/relegation play-offs with eight high-placed clubs from the Eerste Divisie.

The winner of the Eredivisie claims the Dutch national championship. Ajax has won the most titles, with 35 national titles. PSV Eindhoven are next with 24, and Feyenoord follow with 15. Since 1965, these three clubs have won all but three Eredivisie titles (the 1981 and 2009 titles went to AZ and FC Twente won the 2010 title). Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord are known as the "Big Three" or "Traditional Top Three" of Dutch football. They are the only clubs in their current forms to have never been relegated out of the Eredivisie since its formation. A fourth club, FC Utrecht, is the product of a 1970 merger between three of that city's clubs, one of which, VV DOS, had also never been relegated out of the Eredivisie.

From 1990 to 1999, the official name of the league was PTT Telecompetitie (after the sponsor, PTT Telecom), which was changed to KPN Telecompetitie (because PTT Telecom changed its name to KPN Telecom in 1999) and to KPN Eredivisie in 2000. From 2002 to 2005, the league was called the Holland Casino Eredivisie. Since the 2005–06 season, the league has been sponsored by the Sponsorloterij (lottery), but for legal reasons its name could not be attached to the league (the Dutch government was against the name, because the Eredivisie would, after Holland Casino's sponsorship, yet again be sponsored by a company providing games of chance). On 8 August 2012 it was made public that tycoon Rupert Murdoch had secured the rights to the Eredivisie for 12 years at the expense of 1 billion euros, beginning in the 2013–14 season.[2] Within this deal the five largest Eredivisie clubs should receive 5 million euros per year for the duration of the contract.[3] In 2020, the Eredivisie was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.