FC Groningen wants to talk quickly about the departure of Corpus den Hoorn sports park. Director Gudde expects a total solution. ‘We are not going to hold our hand at the municipality’

Amateur clubs at Corpus den Hoorn sports park and neighbor FC Groningen actually all have a similar message to the municipality: make decisions, take control, make speed.

FC Groningen has to leave Corpus den Hoorn sports park. This is the opinion of almost all amateur associations that use the complex in the city of Groningen. And actually FC Groningen thinks that is the most logical solution. But then there must be ‘a total solution’, director Wouter Gudde emphasized on Wednesday evening during a hearing with the city council.

The shortage of sports fields on ‘Corpus’ is so great that several users no longer have room to grow. And they experience that as oppressive and limiting. In the research report presented last week, two possible solutions were mentioned. Whether FC Groningen moves, or baseball and softball club Caribe gets a different place.

‘We’re really not going to hold our hand’

Gudde had done his homework and read that the latter solution will cost the municipality 4 to 5 million euros, not including the cost of acquiring land for a new complex for the club. Gudde does not say that the municipality should pay for the move of FC Groningen – possibly outside the municipality – but he would like to talk (in the short term) about how the municipality can help. FC Groningen invested heavily in the sports park years ago. “We are really not going to hold our hand, but we also own a floor of the Topsportzorgcentrum (at Corpus sports park, ed.), we have leases until 2048. We should all talk about that.”

The total housing costs of FC Groningen amount to 5 million euros per year. FC Groningen pays one million euros per year for Corpus alone. ,,This is the most expensive training complex in the Netherlands for a professional football organisation”, said Gudde.

‘Disappointing that the municipality does not follow through’

,,It seems logical to me that FC Groningen moves to a location that fits the ambition of the club”, said Will Panman, president of football club GRC. “It is disappointing that the municipality is not following through. Talk to the FC quickly and come up with solutions for all parties.”

If the municipality lets the matter run its course, FC Groningen thinks that women’s football will be the child of the bill. ,,That is an ambition that we will not be able to achieve”, said Gudde. ,,Our girls can temporarily play elsewhere, but in the long term we must be able to play with boys, girls, men and women in an equivalent accommodation.” According to Gudde, this is a license requirement of the KNVB.

FC should have done things differently afterwards

Directors of the amateur clubs expressed their criticism of the ‘dominant attitude’ of FC Groningen when using the sports park. The relationship with the professional football organization has deteriorated. Gudde admitted that he should have done things differently in his communication with the amateur clubs afterwards. Chairman Jint Hoeksema of football club Groen Geel reproaches the municipality for not taking the lead in finding a solution and for requiring the clubs to come to an agreement.