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Club Brugge look like champion...
Soccer

Club Brugge look like champions as Belgian Pro League set to end early

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

14:18 2 Apr 2020

Club Brugge are on the verge of becoming champions after Beligian Pro League bosses recommended an early finish for the current season.

It has been confirmed in an official statement released on Thursday, following a meeting of the league's Board of Directors, there has been a unanimous agreement that it is "not desirable" to continue the competition after June 30.

The board has also agreed to accept the current positions in the 2019/20 table as the final classification which would see Club Brugge crowned champions.

Football in Belgium is currently suspended until at least May 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic but the board believe that there is far too much risk to those involved to have a resumption before the end of June.

The decision to bring the current season to an early close and to accept the current league positions as the final classification must be voted for at a General Assembly on April 15 but that is thought to be a formality.

Club Brugge have a lead of 15 points over Gent with one regular fixture left to play before the league was due to go into its playoff phase.

If they are confirmed as champions, it will be the third time in five seasons they have claimed the title after winning it in 2015/16 and 2017/18.

"The Board of Directors took note of the recommendations of Dr. Van Ranst (Belgian virologist and epidemiologist) and the government that it is highly unlikely that games with the public will be played before June 30," reads the official statement.

"The current situation also makes it very unclear whether and when a resumption of collective training courses can be foreseen at all.

"Moreover, a resumption of the competition would in no way outweigh the health risks for players, employees and everyone involved in the competition organization and the necessary maintenance of order.

"In addition, possible contamination of a player or the core of the team risks to influence the sporting course of the further competition in an unacceptable manner."

The statement goes on to outline the reasons for not playing the games without supporters at the stadium before the key point regarding the awarding of the title to Club Brugge.

"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 a unanimous advice to the General Meeting not to resume the competitions of the season '19 -'20 and to accept the current state of the Jupiler Pro League as final classification (subject to the decisions of the licensing committee)."

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