‘Man of the world’ Seedorf gets role at KNVB: ‘A win-win situation’
Clarence Seedorf, one of the most successful Dutch footballers of all time, is getting a role in Dutch soccer again after a long absence: the 87-time international has been nominated as a new member of the supervisory board at the KNVB.
He is the second former top footballer within a short time to be given a position at the soccer association. Earlier this year, Nigel de Jong was appointed top soccer director at the KNVB.
It is another surprising name, according to NOS commentator Arno Vermeulen. “But it is good to see that capable people from that generation are now also playing a role at the association.”
“Seedorf has technical know-how and that’s great, because for a long time there was criticism that there was too little of that at the KNVB. And he can also mean a lot as an ambassador. He is a man of the world, everyone knows him. I don’t see him sitting like a meeting tiger in a little room in Zeist so soon.”
Different sound with Seedorf
The supervisory board supervises the policy of the board and the general course of affairs in the Professional Football Section of the KNVB. Currently, the rvc consists of chairman Jan Albers, Elsemieke Havenga-Hillen, Niek Jan van Kesteren and Jeroen Slop.
Seedorf, after his official appointment, will take the place of Han Berger, who recently exchanged his role as rvc member for that of soccer technical advisor at the KNVB.
“Very few Dutch people will have known that Berger was on the rvc. It is a position in anonymity to which little attention is paid in the media. But that function does take on a different ring with Seedorf’s arrival,” Vermeulen said. “Seedorf obviously has a very different profile than Berger, who was a kind of technical spin doctor operating in the background.”
As commissioner, Seedorf will watch from a distance to see if people in the technical field are doing their jobs properly, and he will keep a finger on the pulse of decisions such as the appointment of a new national coach.
But with Seedorf, the soccer federation also brings in someone who can open doors, Vermeulen said. “He has had a great soccer career; his coaching career was less successful.”
As a soccer player, Seedorf won four Champions League: twice with AC Milan and once with Ajax and Real Madrid. As a coach, he had less fortunate periods with AC Milan, China’s Shenzhen Xiangxue, Deportivo La Coruña and Cameroon.
“It will not have been his dream job to become a member of the rvc of the KNVB now,” Vermeulen said. “But it will also be nice for him to be able to mean something in soccer again. It’s a win-win situation in that respect.”
Chairman Albers of the rvc is therefore delighted with Seedorf’s candidacy: “It is great to see that former players of great standing want to commit themselves to Dutch soccer. We know Clarence not only as a great player, but also as a socially involved person, someone who looks beyond his own world. Especially in a role as commissioner, that is very valuable.”
According to Vermeulen, Seedorf’s intended appointment is also a sign that the Mijnals Committee is doing its job well. The committee, established three years ago, is helping the KNVB achieve its ambitions on racism, discrimination and inclusiveness in soccer.
“One of the spearheads is that important positions should be filled more diversely. The committee said: also have an eye for others than the circle you normally look at when positions are available,” Vermeulen said. “Now you see that there is a female director, Marianne van Leeuwen, and with De Jong and Seedorf a technical director and a commissioner with Surinamese roots.”