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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.

Report: Red Bulls, Anderlecht agree fee for Kemar Lawrence

Kemar Lawrence
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One of the best left backs in Major League Soccer’s history — we think that’s right — is heading abroad.

The Athletic reports that the New York Red Bulls have agreed to sell Kemar Lawrence to Belgian side Anderlecht for around $1.25 million. He reportedly asked for a trade in November.

Lawrence, 27, has 55 caps for Jamaica with three goals to go with 146 career appearances for RBNY, where he has five goals and 10 assists.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

The man they call “Taxi” goes from an RBNY back line anchored by Aaron Long to an Anderlecht back line skippered by Vincent Kompany.

Anderlecht has struggled this season and is well off its usual European qualification pass. The club has also acquired Nacer Chadli, Samir Nasri, and Man City loanee Philippe Sandler.

Lawrence was limited to nine league matches last season but was a 2018 MLS Best XI and was a Gold Cup Best XI in 2017.

RBNY is going to look really different this season, as Lawrence joins Bradley Wright-Phillips and Luis Robles as mainstays to leave New Jersey.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via

Kompany changes gameday role after Anderlecht’s winless start

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BRUSSELS (AP) Player-coach Vincent Kompany is giving up some match-day duties for Anderlecht after a winless start in the Belgian league.

[ MORE: Mexico star Hirving Lozano joins Napoli’s Serie A title chase ]

Assistant coach Simon Davies says he will now take responsibility for tactical changes and substitutions, while Kompany will step up on the field as captain.

Kompany has overseen two draws and two losses, including a second-half slump at Kortrijk last weekend in a 4-2 loss. Anderlecht is 13th in the 16-team league.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines: Matchweek 3 ]

Davies says the new system starts at defending champion Genk on Friday.

The coach, who followed Kompany from Manchester City in the offseason, says “we need some stability” and adds his boss is “really going to concentrate on being the player on match day.”

Kompany starts, loses first league game as Anderlecht player-manager

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Vincent Kompany named himself in the starting lineup for Anderlecht’s season-opening Belgian First Division A fixture and suffered his first defeat as the club’s player-manager.

[ MORE: Report: Bale to stay at Real Madrid after move to China canceled ]

Kompany was named new Anderlecht manager, along with duties as a first-team player, shortly after announcing he was leaving Manchester City at the conclusion of last season. Sunday’s game was Kompany’s first appearance for the club since he departed for Hamburg in 2006.

Anderlecht went ahead after 13 minutes, but conceded and equalizer just six minutes later and KV Oostende scored the game-winner in the 75th. Kompany played all 90 minutes.

[ MORE: Liverpool sign youngest-ever PL debutant from Fulham ]

Anderlecht’s fans welcomed Kompany back home with a banner that read “Left like a prince, came back like a king!” and scarves with his face and the message “Welcome home, Kompany” were sold inside the stadium.

With his re-debut — and first defeat — out of the way, the hard work and potentially harsh assessment period will begin very quickly for Kompany and Co.

Anderlecht introduces new mayonnaise in team colors

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Fans support their favorite soccer teams with shirts, scarves, and more apparel and merchandise.

Now, Belgium side Anderlecht is taking fandom to a new level: Food.

In an interesting marketing move, Anderlecht announced that it’s come out with its own version of mayonnaise that’s been dyed purple, the main color of the club (The team is called “The Purple and White” in French and Dutch). One of the most popular gameday snacks in Belgium are fries and mayonaise, according to an informal UEFA poll, and now, fans of Anderlecht can dip their fries into purple mayo!

Mayo is apparently so popular in Belgium that there are literally laws on the books governing its ingredients. The move to create a purple sauce comes from a continued business partnership with Brussels Ketjup, a national Belgian ketchup that has sponsored the team.

The purple mayo will be sold in stores around Brussels (where Anderlecht is located) and Belgium, and proceeds from the sales will go towards Child Focus, a pan-European foundation that helps missing and exploited children.

Could we see this come to the Premier League and the U.S.? Imagine red pies at Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United, or a bright green pie in Norwich.

What about green ketchup in Seattle for the Sounders, or orange fries at Houston Dynamo games.

It’s unlikely to happen – different colored ketchup from Heinz was a marketing failure – but it could be fun if it was ever tried again on a small scale, tied to a sporting event or team.

Perhaps we’ll be seeing Vincent Kompany downing some fries and purple mayo this fall.