Belgium pro league set to be abandoned, Club Brugge awarded title

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The Pro League in Belgium is set to be the first top-flight in Europe to rule its season abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is expected the decision will be announced formally on April 15 and that Club Brugge, who sit 15 points clear atop the table, will be awarded the title as there is just one regular-season game remaining before the playoffs to decide the top half of the table were due to begin.

Club Brugge would also be handed a spot in the UEFA Champions League for next season.

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The recommendation from the board of directors to its club is that the season should be abandoned and current league positions will be declared as final. A meeting on Apr. 15 will see the plan discussed and the only remaining issues to discuss are promotion and relegation.

“The Board of Directors took note of the recommendations of Dr. Van Ranst and the government that it is highly unlikely that games with the public will be played before June 30. The current situation also makes it very unclear whether and when a resumption of collective training courses can be foreseen at all. The Board of Directors have unanimously decided that it is not desirable to continue the competition after June 30. Given the above elements, the Board of Directors has formulated a unanimous advice to the General Meeting not to resume the competitions of the season ’19 -’20 and to accept the current state of the Jupiler Pro League as final classification (subject to the decisions of the licensing committee).”

They added that the Belgium league have set up a working group which will “consider the sporting and financial implications that this decision entails.”

The fact that any games which did take place behind closed doors before June 30 would require extra assistance from medical and security personnel who are already stretched to their limits during the coronavirus pandemic is a huge factor in why sporting events are not taking place.

This ruling could well be the landmark moment for leagues across Europe, and the rest of the world, calling it quits for the 2019-20 campaign.

Many leagues, such as the Premier League, continue to suspend its season indefinitely as they wait for improvements with the coronavirus pandemic and although UEFA have relaxed their previous stance that domestic seasons should be finished by June 30, it is looking more likely that the 2019-20 season would need until August or September at the earliest to be completed.