Belgian Pro League 2019-2020 Season Finally Ends, Club Brugge Are the Runaway Champions

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The 2019-2020 football season is finally over in Belgium as the Belgian Pro League board of directors declared Club Brugge the winner of the league. The decision was taken on Friday at a meeting where a recommendation for the cancellation of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic was approved.

The plan for the cancellation of the season has been on since April when it became obvious that the coronavirus pandemic won’t give room for football to return on time. The plan received a boost when the government of the country declared that no sporting activities should take place in the country until the 31st of July due to the pandemic.

However, the plan was delayed when European football governing body UEFA issued a statement to warn domestic leagues in Europe to desist from ending their 2019-2020 season prematurely. The football body warned that any domestic league that doesn’t compete its season could be expelled from participating in European competitions.

Subsequently, the Royal Belgian FA announced that it was seeking UEFA approval before ending the season with the purpose of preserving “the spots for Belgian teams in the European competitions for the 2020-2021 season”.

Since the FA has finally ended the season, it means that it has obtained UEFA approval to do so, making the league the second known league in Europe to officially end the 2019-2020 season, after French Ligue 1.

As it stands, Club Brugge became the champions of the league with 15 points more than the second-placed KAA Gent. The club has automatically qualified for the UEFA Champions League next season.

This is contrary to the tradition of the 16-clubs league where the top six sides usually compete to decide the champions and qualification for European football. This time around, the league based qualification for European football on the position of the clubs on the league table before the season was halted.

Therefore, second-placed KAA Gent will qualify for the Champions League’s third qualifying round. Third-placed Sporting Charleroi will enter the Europa League group stages while Royal Antwerp and Standard Liege have qualified for the competition’s third and second qualifying round respectively.

The only competitive top-flight club football that has not been cancelled is the Belgian Cup. The final between Club Brugge and Royal Antwerp is expected to come up in August. If Royal Antwerp wins the cup, the club will qualify automatically for the Europa League ahead of Charleroi.

Before the cancellation of the season was approved, all the 16 clubs in the Belgian Pro League have played 29 matches each. The last match of the season was played on March 7. Hence, Club Brugge became a runaway champion of the league with just a match left to play.