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Vitesse Arnhem activates exit strategy from stadium deal

Dutch Eredivisie football club Vitesse Arnhem has opted to cancel its current lease agreement at the GelreDome as it seeks to strike a better deal to play at the stadium.

Vitesse has called the GelreDome home since the stadium opened in March 1998, but currently holds subtenant status under an agreement with main tenant Exploitatiemaatschappij GelreDome and stadium owner, Amsterdam real estate company Nedstede Leisure Participaties.

The club’s current contract included a clause by which it would be extended by a further 20 years through to 2043. Ahead of a deadline of October 1, Vitesse has now activated a clause through which the current deal will effectively end on October 1, 2023.

Vitesse general manager Joost de Wit told Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander that the club is now seeking talks with Exploitatiemaatschappij GelreDome and Nedstede, adding that it is “not happy with the current conditions.”

Under the current agreement, Vitesse pays annual rent of €1.8m (£1.6m/$2.1m) to use the GelreDome for 30 match days and receives seven per cent of hotel and catering revenue during these events, equating to around €110,000 per year.

De Wit claims other clubs pay lower rent for their stadia and have access on a year-round basis, along with receiving a greater share of hotel and catering revenue.

Nedstede chief executive Michael van de Kuit said the terms of the current agreement were set out as part of a rescue plan for the club in 2003. He added that Vitesse had given up the perpetual right to play by accepting the contract.

Responding to fears that Vitesse may find itself without a home in five years’ time, De Wit said: “During the construction of GelreDome, a perpetual right to play is laid down in a qualitative obligation and a chain agreement. The municipality of Arnhem has assigned this to Vitesse.

“Moreover, we have five years to make new, reasonable and balanced agreements about the rent.”

Image: Arnhemcity12