BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian football is anticipating a stormy end to the season on Friday when key decisions about the campaign are finally decided in the boardroom.
While play for the rest of the season has been cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, decisions must still be made over whether to declare a champion, promotion and relegation as well as places in next season’s European club competitions.
Belgium was the first country in Europe to end the campaign but that decision made by the Pro League board -- which at the time saw runaway leaders Club Brugge hailed as champions -- has yet to be ratified by the clubs, some six weeks on.
They finally meet for a general assembly, via video conference, on Friday after several postponements, which had offered hopes of a change of heart.
But any possible decision to go back on the decision to cancel the season was ended last week when Belgium’s government extended a ban on sports events until July 31.
A working group was established to thrash out the details of the season but has had its work muddied by lobbying from clubs, Belgian media have reported.
Among the suggestions is one to not award the title nor relegate any teams.
This is despite the fact that Club Brugge are 15 points clear at the top of the standings, with just one round of matches left in the regular season.
There are also proposals to expand the size of the top flight from 16 to 18 clubs next season and do away with the post-season playoff system, first introduced in 2010.
The size of Belgium’s professional league is also guaranteed to be smaller next season after Lokeren and Roeselare, who both played in the second tier, were in the last weeks stripped of their licences after financial irregularities.
There are now 22 clubs rather than 24 over the top two divisions.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)