Professional football contributes at least 2.03 billion euros to the gross domestic product, 60 percent more than the previous study from 2015 showed.

This is evident from research by accountancy firm PwC into the social impact of professional football.

The Netherlands has more than eight million football fans, who spend an average of eleven hours a week with football.

Before the outbreak of the corona crisis and the closure of the stadiums, an average of more than 200,000 people sat in the stands every week.

According to PwC, an average of two million people watch the matches live and four million people watch the summaries every week.

The 34 professional clubs and umbrella organizations provide at least 3,254 full-time jobs and more than 8,300 volunteers are active.

The clubs reach more than 280,000 people annually with their social projects, according to the researchers.

"Football connects millions of people, because it is usually the talk of the town," said outgoing Minister Tamara van Ark for Sport in a response.

The survey also shows that two thirds of the professional clubs do not have a concrete sustainability policy.

In addition, only 5 percent of the board members are women, while 30 percent is the target.

Of the 8.2 million football fans, a third of whom are women, half have completed higher professional education or university education, more than the average in the Netherlands.

The research was commissioned by the KNVB football association and the two companies behind the country's two highest football leagues: the Eredivisie CV and the Coöperatie Eerste Divisie, respectively.

"I am very happy with these hard figures," said Eric Gudde, director of professional football at the KNVB.

"I hope that this report will be sent to the right desk in The Hague, read and implemented."

He believes that politicians consider sport to be of secondary importance.

"I hope that with this report they will finally see how important it is."