Club Brugge named champions as Belgium votes to end season

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Club Brugge have been named the champions of Belgium as clubs voted to end the 2019-20 season with European spots and one relegation for Waasland-Beveren also confirmed.

The decision has long been coming after clubs and the league agreed in April to end the current campaign without further games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, after a lengthy delay an official vote only took place on May 15 and clubs decided to name Club Brugge champions and settle the rest of the table by leaving it as it was. Club Brugge will now be in the UEFA Champions League group stage next season, while Gent will be in the UCL third qualifying round and Charleroi will be in the Europa League group stage.

Antwerp will join the Europa League in the third qualifying round and Standard Liege in the second. Genk and Anderlecht finished in seventh and eighth respectively and miss out on European qualification. Club Brugge were 15 points clear at the top with one game of the regular season to go, as the Belgian league then splits into a top and bottom half playoff format for the remainder of the season.

The decision to award a champion and end the season with the table as it is is different from other leagues around Europe, as in France’s Ligue 1 they decided to use a points-per-game to end the 2019-20 season due to the French government postponing professional sports until September. The Dutch government also stopped pro sports, even in empty stadiums, until Sept. 1 but the Dutch Eredivisie decided to cancel the season as no champions were declared and no promotion and relegation was permitted.

As for Italy, Spain and England, all three aim to restart their top-flight leagues in June, while the Bundesliga in Germany is of course returning to action this weekend.

All of these countries in Europe are so close to one another geographically but given the different situations in each nation due to the coronavirus pandemic, leagues are coming to very different decisions.