Belgian clubs postpone vote th...


Belgian clubs postpone vote that could end season early

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Belgian clubs have postponed a vote that could bring an early close to the Jupiler Pro League season. 

Earlier this month, the league's Board of Directors unanimously agreed that it was "not desirable" to continue the competition after June 30.

Football in the country is suspended until May 1 at the earliest as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That decision of the Board of Directors looked to hand the title to Club Brugge who, with one game of the regular season remaining, hold a 15-point lead over second placed Gent.

After the regular season, the league enters a playoff phase.

On Monday, the clubs decided "by a very large majority" to defer their vote until May 5 as they seek further governmental clarity on potential easing of restrictions.

The vote will take place instead on Monday May 4.

Belgian virologist Marc van Ranst told VTM Nieuws that patience will be key, "I understand that everyone wants clarity and we want to give it, but we are dealing with a pandemic that does not always evolve the way we want to.

“Giving dates is very difficult, especially when they are a bit further in the future. We have to practice something that is especially difficult in sports: patience.

"We cannot do otherwise at this stage. Some things you can do, but others you can't put a date on yet."

On Friday, the KNVB voted to end the Dutch season early albeit with no champions, no promotion and no relegation.

European qualification will be decided on current European standings.

That decision has led to numerous threats of legal action from the likes of Utrecht (who missed out on a Europa League slot) and Cambuur (who remain in the Eerste Divisie).

De Graafshcap have also been left marooned in the Dutch second tier having looked set to follow Cambuur in being promoted.

The promotion/relegation decision came about after 16 clubs voted in favour, 9 against, and 9 left the decision in the hands of the KNVB who sided with the minority.

"I've never seen the nine neutral votes join the minority", De Graafschap general director Hans Martijn Ostendorp told de Telegraaf.

"I've had clubs on the phone that voted neutral and said, if we had known this, we would have voted for promotion and relegation. It seems as if the decision had already been made in advance."

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Belgium Bruges Club Brugge Coronavirus Covid-19 De Graafschap KNVB Netherlands

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