Coronavirus: Club Brugge to be champions as Belgium's Pro League recommends cancellation

By Sports Desk April 02, 2020

Belgium's Pro League has recommended calling an end to its 2019-20 season and accepting current positions as the final standings.

In what would be an unprecedented move in response to the coronavirus pandemic, current leaders Club Brugge stand to be named as champions.

A working group will now assess the potential sporting and financial implications of the board of directors' decision, with a general assembly to convene on April 15 and discuss the findings.

The Belgian top-flight has one regular-season round of fixtures remaining, which would normally precede a play-off competition to determine the winners and qualifiers for the Champions League and Europa League.

Brugge, who finished second in 2018-19, are 15 points clear and look set to benefit from Thursday's directive, while Waasland-Beveren – two points from safety at the foot of the table – are facing relegation.

A league statement read: "The Pro League board of directors met today by conference call. The most important item on the agenda was obviously the issue of continued competition in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

"The current situation, particularly precarious, in which our country finds itself has as a consequence that sport is not and cannot be considered as the first concern, however entertaining and relaxing it may be.

"In this context, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to make a recommendation, taking into account public health, the interests of all stakeholders and the wishes of the majority of clubs. to not resume competition."

It remains to be seen whether the final of the Belgian Cup, originally due to take place on March 22 between Brugge and Antwerp, will still go ahead later in the year.

Football and sport in general has been put on hold in the vast majority of countries around the world as governments attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Euro 2020 has been pushed back to 2021, as have the Olympics, with UEFA also postponing this year's Champions League and Europa League indefinitely. 

The top leagues in Europe are still on hiatus, with finishing the season still a priority, although UEFA chairman Aleksander Ceferin has acknowledged it may prove impossible to do so.

Related items

  • T&T Pro League anxiously awaits government go-ahead for resumption - Baptiste T&T Pro League anxiously awaits government go-ahead for resumption - Baptiste

    Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League has revealed its players are eager to get back out on the pitch but paying close attention to the country’s re-opening guidelines.

    With European football leagues set to resume next month, there is yet to be any indication as to when some of the Caribbean’s local leagues can resume play.

    “Contant sports have not been mentioned in any of the phases listed by the government in terms of when people can return to doing normal things.  We are hoping that at least by phase five we would be able to start getting ourselves ready to commence the league,” Baptiste told T&T’s 7pmNews.

    Baptiste revealed that the football governing body has already began putting things in place for a speedy re-opening if and when the government go-ahead of given.

    “I know the clubs are eager to resume training, because the time you start to prepare for actual matchday might be short.  Everyone wants to get into the thick of things,” she added.

    “Football means a lot to the players as it keeps them fit, as well as disciplined. It also allows them to get rid of their frustrations on the field.”

    Things in the 11-team league ground to a halt, due to concerns surrounding the virus in early March.  There were three more matchdays remaining in the 2019-2020 season.

  • Barcelona spell the worst year of my career, says Martino Barcelona spell the worst year of my career, says Martino

    Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino says his season in charge of Barcelona was the worst of his career.

    Martino took over at Camp Nou from Tito Vilanova in July 2013 and enjoyed a positive start, winning the Supercopa de Espana on away goals against Atletico Madrid.

    Barca started the LaLiga season with a 7-0 thrashing of Levante before winning his first Clasico 2-1 at home to Real Madrid in October.

    The season ended in disappointment, though, with Atletico pipping Barca to the title after holding them to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on the final day of the league season, having lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid a month earlier.

    Martino, who stepped down after the Atletico draw, says it was trying to get the best out of the squad while attempting to embrace their stylistic traditions that made life difficult.

    "From the results side of things, it wasn't a bad year," he said, as quoted by Sport. "We won a trophy and we played in a final, but at Barcelona what matters is how many trophies you win.

    "However, I say it was my worst year because my contribution as coach started and finished with the management of the team.

    "There were concerns that my management had a short life and, for me, the Clasico against Real Madrid that we won 2-1 at home was key.

    "We scored the second goal running into space and if Barcelona ran into space, it was because something did not fit together.

    "But I understand that, if we could add anything to the team, it was not to deny the possibility of running.

    "Speed was going to make Barcelona more complete because when there were lapses in the dominance of the opposition, it was good to go back and move into space. That was carried out the following year, with Luis Enrique."

  • Coronavirus: Seville derby to relaunch LaLiga season on June 11 Coronavirus: Seville derby to relaunch LaLiga season on June 11

    LaLiga will return with the derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on Thursday, June 11, it has been confirmed.

    Spain's Higher Council of Sport (CSD) said it had agreed the resumption plans with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga.

    The CSD issued a statement that confirmed plans for the season to end on July 18-19.

    There are 11 rounds of games still to be played in LaLiga, with Barcelona two points clear of Real Madrid when the coronavirus pandemic forced football to be suspended in March.

    "The resumption of competition will take place during the weekend of June 13-14, with the first match on Thursday the 11th between Sevilla and Real Betis," the CSD statement said.

    "The last day will occur, provisionally and always depending on the evolution of the pandemic, on the weekend of July 18 and 19."

    The Segunda Division can also resume on June 13-14.

    LaLiga president Javier Tebas had been pushing for the June 11 derby date since Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed last Saturday that football could resume from June 8.

    Previous reports had suggested the first LaLiga match would be played on June 12, exactly three months after the suspension started; however, Tebas has got the outcome he wanted.

    All LaLiga games for the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be played behind closed doors.

    The CSD praised those who took part in the talks to structure the final weeks of the campaign amid the unprecedented circumstances, saying the same officials would meet on a monthly basis, or, where necessary, more often until the season is concluded.

    To fit in so many games in such a short period of time, the RFEF on Wednesday said it would allow matches to be played on Mondays and Fridays.

    The Seville derby is expected to kick off at 22:00 local time due to the intense heat in Andalusia's capital.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.