The top 2 Belgian Male volleyball clubs, Noliko Maaseik and Knack Roeselare, who have just played the Belgian Cup finals, have penned a letter of protest against the Belgian Volleyball Federation. Both teams accuse the governing body of using them as “cash-cows” to sell tickets at a high price, with little to nothing as a return for the teams. According to both clubs, they were only paid 1500 EUR (about $2000) prize money for their finals appearance, even though the tournament netted the federation 300,000 EUR (about $370k), as the game drew more than 10,000 fans to the stands.
The accusations and discourse are both very strong and harsh. Here is what the official statement says:
“What should be a high day for both clubs (Belgian Cup finals) has left a bitter aftertaste. As in previous years, both participating teams are used by Topvolley Belgium as “cash-cow” to sell tickets at a much too high price. All consultations by the teams regarding the organization are considered as interference.
We, Noliko Maaseik and Knack Roeselare, as two of the most important clubs from Belgium, are more than tired of this game from the Belgian Volleyball Association.
We therefore formulate the following requirements to ensure the continued existence and further development of professional volleyball in Belgium:
1. The organization of League A is entrusted to the Volleyball League without interference from the federation.
2. We do not want to play a Cup finals anymore, with only 1500 EUR prize money being paid per finalist on more than 300 000 EUR
3. We demand compensation for the clubs that release players for the national team. Players are paid by the clubs when they play for the national team.
This must immediately take effect without further parlay.
We regret to go through this road and to ventilate our opinion like this, but the trust of both clubs in the federation s and its leaders is completely gone after the latest developments. We are very worried.
On behalf of Noliko Maaseik and Knack Roeselare,
Mathi Raedschelders (Chairman), Francis De Nolf (Chairman), Dirk Specenier (Managing Director),
Dieter Leenders (Managing Director), Wout Wijsmans (Sports Manager), René Corstjens.”
The effects of both teams’ positioning sent shock-waves through Belgian sports circles. Belgian minister of sports Phillipe Muyters intervened, taking initiative to reconcile all parties. He should soon appoint an external neutral mediator who will lead the federation and clubs to a compromise:
“The past few years have been successful for volleyball in our country. It would be a shame if this effect were nullified by conflicts of this kind.”