Club Brugge formally declared Belgian champion

Club Brugge was formally declared Belgian champion on Friday after the country's Pro League confirmed last month's decision to end the season prematurely after the new coronavirus pandemic.

Brugge had a 15-point lead with only one match in the regular season and will take an automatic place in the next season's Champions League group stage.

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Belgium was the first country in Europe to end its football season just a few weeks after its suspension in mid-March, but that decision by the Pro League council still needed to be ratified by the clubs, which did so at Friday's general assembly. market.

"The general assembly voted to confirm the classification after 29 rounds as the end result of the season," said a statement from the Pro League.

Ghent, as runner-up, will compete in the preliminary rounds of the 2020-21 Champions League and Sporting Charleroi, Royal Antwerp and Standard Liege qualify for the Europa League.

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The meeting also decided that the Waasland-Beveren bottom would be downgraded, but the club immediately said it would challenge the decision.

The league said it will also try to play the Belgian Cup final between Club Brugge and Antwerp, originally scheduled for April but postponed amid the COVID-19 crisis. A date had yet to be set.

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Next season's first division will continue with 16 teams and will feature mini playoffs at the end of the season.

Since 2010, the top six teams in the standings have played in a mini-league to decide the title, but it will be reduced to the top four teams next season.

The new campaign is scheduled to start on August 7, it was also decided on Friday.

Any game banned by local authorities next season will be lost by the hosts with a 3-0 win delivered to the visitors, although those games can be transferred to a neutral location.

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All sporting events in Belgium are suspended until the end of July because of the health crisis. The country was hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus.

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(Reuters / NAN)

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