Following an 18-point penalty and relegation, Dutch club Vitesse has been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. This has only forced supporters to pitch in for survival.

This season was the first time in 35 years that Vitesse had been demoted from the top division. The Dutch Football Association docked them 18 points for willful and repeated violations of their license terms; and for giving the authorities false information.

Thus, the team is now in a mad dash to save their professional license for next season; especially after deciding not to appeal the suspension. According to Dutch news reports, they have until May 17, the next licensing committee meeting, to pay off their $20.3 million in debt.

While the exact sum is not necessary, the club must demonstrate that they have a long-term strategy. If not, a possible dissolution and revocation of the football club’s professional license is imminent.

Within two weeks, the Arnhem club must prove to the KNVB licensing committee that they are financially healthy enough to play next season or beyond. Fail to do so, and they will be deemed bankrupt.

Many ex-players come to rescue for Vitesse in face of bankruptcy

As a result, a campaign called “For Yellow-Black” has been started on the club’s website, and it asks fans to provide large amounts of money to ensure the club’s survival.

“Donations are coming in from every nook and cranny,” Vitesse captain Marco van Ginkel told the club’s website. “Of course, we as a group cannot lag behind. That is why we have all decided to make a salary sacrifice to the club. We also hope to make a nice contribution. On to the two million!”

Some of the people who helped out with the crowdfunding effort include Guram Kashia, Wilfried Bony, Roy Makaay, Ronald Koeman, Leo Beenhakker, and Henk ten Cate, among others. The crowdfunding campaign was formally launched by John van den Brom, a former player and the new manager of Vitesse.

His announcement as head coach came just this week, but he already has a message up on the crowdfunding website pleading for supporters to chip in.

“With this, we hope to show everyone and everything in the Netherlands that Vitesse is alive. We also really need the revenue. This is the time to support the club!”, he said.

How close were Vitesse and Chelsea in their relationship?

Also, a number of ex-Chelsea players have chipped in to help salvage their struggling old club via the crowdfunding initiative. The Standard reports that Matt Miazga and Lewis Baker, both of whom were members of the Blues Academy, donated monetarily to the initiative.

Because of their penchant for signing Chelsea loanees, the former Eredivisie club gained fame outside of the Netherlands. They were even known as “Chelsea B” at one point because of the large number of Blues players loaned out to the Dutch club. The list even includes luminaries like Armando Broja and Mason Mount.

The two sides had a great working relationship during Roman Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea. A number of the club’s younger players had productive loan stints. Players such as Baker, Miazga, as well as Dominic Solanke were members of the club.

On loan from Stamford Bridge, Vitesse received 29 players over a whole decade. Former Real Madrid player Martin Odegaard also played for the Arnhem outfit on a season-long loan in 2018-19.