Only the national champions and the winner of the Amstel Cup qualify directly for European football. The champions go to the UEFA Champions League, the cup winners get a ticket for the UEFA Cup. The other spots have to be earned through play-off matches. From 2005-2006 the teams will also play in the Christmas period.
In the play offs numbers 2 through 5 play in a knock-out schedule after 34 matches for one available spot in the preliminary round of the UEFA Champions League and for two places in the UEFA Cup. The loser of those matches gets another chance to win the third ticket for the UEFA Cup against the winner of the play offs between numbers 6 through 9.
Each play-off round is played by the regular European Cup rules with a home and away match. Number 1 of the Dutch league after 34 matches is champions and qualifies directly for the UEFA Champions League. The new model also means that from the 2005-2006 season there will be matches during the Christmas period.