sport

Agovv given stay of execution

Dutch Eerste Divisie side AGOVV have been given four weeks to pay off a six-figure tax bill and stave off bankruptcy.

The Dutch tax authorities, the Belastingdienst, had issued a winding-up order over an unpaid bill of 400,000 euros (323,000) but after a court hearing in Zutphen this morning, the club were given a stay of execution.

Technical director Henk Timmer was understandably delighted but warned the club still need to raise 1million euros to remain in business until the end of the season.

"We are still alive, we can now stand together fully against it," Timmer told De Stentor.

"All those hours working through the night were not in vain. We now have extra time to meet with potential investors."

The outcome means Friday's game against FC Eindhoven can go ahead as scheduled. AGOVV currently lie 14th in Holland's second tier, three points clear of bottom club Emmen, thanks in the main to nine goals from top scorer Joey Godee.

They only returned to professional football in 2003, having dropped to the amateur ranks in 1971 due to financial problems. Notable players for them since their return include Schalke's Holland striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, former Manchester United and West Ham goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw and current Belgium internationals Dries Mertens and Nacer Chadli.