Stichting Betaald Voetbal Vitesse, commonly referred to simply as Vitesse (internationally known as Vitesse Arnhem) is a Dutch football club based in Arnhem, which was founded on 14 May 1892. Vitesse has enjoyed some success in the Eredivisie and featured in the UEFA Cup competition. The owner is a Russian businessman, which makes Vitesse the first Dutch football club owned by a foreigner.
The idea of conceiving a football team stemmed from the club’s early roots as a cricket club.
Vitesse once attracted big name signings into its ranks including Roy Makaay, Nikos Machlas, Sander Westerveld, Danko Lazovic, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Mahamadou Diarra and Philip Cocu. In the 1980s, the club was threatened with bankruptcy, the solution to which was to form a new administrative board to govern both the professionals and the amateur sides. This is because up until the 1980s, the club had incorporated both its professional and its amateur players into its club structure. In 1990, the club reached its most recent KNVB Cup final when it was defeated by PSV Eindhoven on a penalty-kick in the 75′ minute from Stan Valckx at De Kuip on 25 April 1990. It was restructured again in 2003 when it could have gone bankrupt, when the timely intervention of the Arnhem city council helped to create a financial rescue package to salvage the club.
In 2010 the club was bought by Georgian businessman Merab Jordania, who is a good friend with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Shortly thereafter, the two clubs agreed to a partnership and in the years following, many young Chelsea players have the move to Vitesse on loan, including Nemanja Matić, Gaël Kakuta and both Tomáš Kalas and Patrick van Aanholt twice. The club competed in European competition for the first time in a decade when it qualified for the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League as they were winners of the European playoff at the end of the 2011-12 Eredivisie campaign, defeating RKC Waalwijk 5-2 in the two-legged final.
Vitesse finished the 2012-13 Eredivisie campaign in fourth place and thus qualified for the Third Qualifying Round of the Europa League for the following season. After leading the club to their impressive fourth place finish, manager Fred Rutten stepped down from his post after only one season in charge and was replaced by former Vitesse and Feyenoord midfielder Peter Bosz. In July 2013, two of Vitesse’s most important first-team players, Marco van Ginkel and Wilfried Bony, were sold for club record fees at the time to Chelsea and Swansea City of the Premier League respectively. Van Ginkel had been named the Dutch Talent of the Year for the previous season and Bony was the Eredivisie top scorer with 31 goals and was named the Dutch Footballer of the Year.
On 16 August 2010, the former Georgian footballer and now businessman Merab Jordania became the owner of Vitesse. Jordania expressed his ambition for Vitesse to become champion of the Eredivisie league within three years. His first action as owner involved attracting 8 new young players, though no established stars. However, the takeover resulted in some controversy. Some commentators arguing that this takeover was the Dutch equivalent of what had happened in English football, financial globalization and possibly longer-term destabilization, as expressed in the opinions in the local papers. On 22 October 2013 it was announced that Russian billionaire Aleksandr Tsjigirinski was the new owner of Vitesse, while Merab Jordania would remain as chairman of the club.