3 April 2020 – Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau is closing in on his first major title in European football with Club Brugge set to be declared league champions.
With the Belgian First Division A suspended for the past three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pro League board have brought the 2019/20 season to an end.
According to Belgian news outlet Nieuwsblad, a newly formed group consisting of club directors Peter Croonen (Genk), Michel Louwagie (AA Gent), Eddy Cordier (Zulte Waregem), Jozef Allijns (KV Kortrijk) and Philippe Bormans (Union) are set to decide the final outcome with the overall decision yet to be ratified.
Club Bruges will be declared champions with the current league table set to stand.
There was one match of the regular season remaining when the league was suspended, with play-offs due to decide the top positions.
The league’s board of directors made the decision and have made a recommendation to the general assembly.
It will be made official on 15 April with a working group to decide relegation and promotion issues.
Club Bruges are 15 points clear of second-placed Gent at the top of the table.
Season tickets are set to be redistributed as the look forward to scheduling fixtures and plans for the 2020/21 campaign while outcomes of the Belgian Cup final and relegation and promotion will be finalised in due course.
The Cup final, which would see Tau’s Brugge take on Royal Antwerp is still planned on being played out if the federal health service permits the fixture from taking place.
On Wednesday, the European Football Association UEFA had given its national federations the opportunity to stretch the competitions until August 3 which Belgian clubs have now opted against.
It’s been noted with the Belgian top-flight using a play-off structure to confirm league winners, relegation and European qualification spots – the decision has been made easier than with some of the major European leagues.
“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 league said in a statement.
“The current situation also makes it very unclear whether and when a resumption of collective training courses can be foreseen at all.
“Even if games behind closed doors could theoretically be possible, the additional pressure they place on health and order services should be avoided. Moreover, decisions by local authorities threaten to make a joint course of match days impossible.
“The Board of Directors has unanimously decided that it is not desirable to continue the competition after June 30.
“Given the above elements, the Board of Directors has formulated unanimous advice to the General Meeting not to resume the competitions of the season 2019/20 and to accept the current state of the Jupiler Pro League as final classification [subject to the decisions of the licensing committee].”