The Belgian Pro League board has proposed the immediate conclusion of their 2019-20 football season. This would make Belgium the first European country to officially end its top-flight campaign, crowning Club Brugge champions in the process.
According to reports, the Pro League’s board of directors have unanimously recommended this solution amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, they will reach a final verdict on April 15 at the General Assembly, where all 24 teams have a vote.
With one league matchday remaining, Brugge held a 15-point lead over closest rivals Gent, but would have carried their advantage over into the 10-game championship playoffs – every team (1st to 6th) plays each other twice.
As written in the report, these would be the ramifications for next season’s European competition:
• Brugge into 20-21 Champions League as champions
• Gent into UCL qualification rounds as runners-up
• Charleroi (3rd) into Europa League group stages
• Antwerp (4th), Standard Liege (5th) into UEL preliminary rounds
It is said that the current league standings are final, subject to the decisions of the licensing committee – but the league’s complex makeup means there are still choices to make.
Antwerp could still qualify directly for the group stage if they win their proposed Cup final against Brugge.
In addition, Beerschot held a 1-0 first leg aggregate lead over OHL for the promotion place into Belgium’s top-tier. If this final isn’t complete, Waasland-Beveren (16th) can still avoid relegation.
What happens to those matches?
A working group with select personnel across the league are said to be discussing whether those finals can be completed, and if not, how to resolve the situation fairly for 2020-21.
The group is made of: KV Kortrijk chairman Joseph Allijns, Pro League CEO Pierre François, Gent boss Michel Louwagie, Zulte-Waregem CEO Eddy Cordier, Pro League chairman Peter Croonen and Union CEO Philippe Bormans.
Suggestions have been made for an 18-team league with Waasland-Beveren, OHL and Beerschot all involved in the Jupiler League next term.