Dutch FA allow men, women to play together in amateur teams

The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has announced a pioneering rule change which will see men and women able to play alongside each other in amateur football teams from next season.

The KNVB has changed its rules on amateur participation following a pilot scheme carried out in ninth-tier side VV Foarut.

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The KNVB hailed this as an "historic moment for amateur football worldwide."

"We want girls and women to find a suitable place in the football landscape based on their qualities and own ambitions," KNVB director of amateur football Jan Dirk van der Zee said. "Mixed football has so far been possible in the entire youth in the Netherlands."

Previously, when women reached the age of 18 years old, they were unable to continue playing alongside their male teammates. However, this rule has since been changed, with VV Foarut's Ellen Fokkema one of the most vocal critics of the previous legislation.

When Fokkema turned 18, and found she was unable to continue playing for her team, she sent several letters to the KNVB asking them to revise its regulations.

Following her petitioning, the KNVB trialled the scheme in August 2020, but due to COVID-19, amateur football has largely been cancelled in the Netherlands, so the KNVB has sought expert advice and studied footage ahead of Wednesday's announcement.

"Based on the current information and recent research results, we no longer see any reason to stick to this [previous rule] and opt for equality and diversity," Van der Zee added.