Vitesse crowdfunding in bid to play next season

Vitesse player Melle Meulensteen
An 18-point deduction means Vitesse are only on two points with three games remaining this season [Getty Images]

Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem have launched a crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to raise funds to retain their license and stay in the professional leagues.

Vitesse will be relegated from the Eredivisie for the first time in 35 years after an 18-point deduction for breaches of their licensing conditions and providing incorrect information to authorities.

They must prove they have a financially sustainable future to be allowed to play in the second tier next season.

The funds raised reached 1m euros (£858,000) on Friday, with current and former players donating as well as fans.

Lewis Baker and Matt Miazga, who both played at the club on loan from Chelsea, are among those to have given money.

Striker Wilfried Bony, who joined Swansea from Vitesse in 2013, is another to have donated.

Vitesse's squad have made salary sacrifices to help the cause.

Their captain, another former Chelsea player Marco van Ginkel, said: "It is really bizarre how Vitesse is living at the moment.

"Donations come in from every nook and cranny. Of course, we as a group cannot lag behind."