Belgian football season likely over as govt suspends sport until July 31


Brussels (AFP) – The Belgian government announced Wednesday it was suspending all sporting competitions until July 31, effectively putting an end to the country’s football season as favoured by most clubs.

The decision was acknowledged by the Pro League, the association of Belgian clubs, which will review the “end of season terms and conditions” during its general assembly scheduled on May 15.

Club Brugge, who were 15 points clear with 11 matches to play, would become Belgian champions if the league is declared over.

“The Pro League takes note of the decision taken today by the National Security Council which plans to cancel professional football competitions until July 31,” it said in a statement.

“It goes without saying that the Pro League and its clubs will respect this decision.”

The Belgian league recommended the season be declared finished early due to the coronavirus pandemic with the table accepted as final on April 2, becoming the first European league to take such a measure.

The following day UEFA called the decision “premature” and “unjustified” and threatened to deprive Belgian clubs of places in European competitions next season.

The decision must still be formally validated at next week’s meeting. The Pro League had delayed a vote on whether to end the season three times although clubs were mostly in favour.

The Belgian government had already banned all mass gatherings until August 31.

It would become the third European country to put an end to the 2019-20 campaign prematurely following similar measures taken in the Netherlands and France.

In contrast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday gave the Bundesliga the green light to resume the season from mid-May behind closed doors.

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