Belgian Pro League set for ear...


Belgian Pro League set for early finish with sport banned until July 31

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The Belgian government have decided to extend the ban on team sports to July 31 which almost certainly means it's curtains for this season's Pro League.

Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced a further easing of restrictions in the country on Wednesday afternoon, including allowing visits to homes of family and close friends.

However, the suspension of team sports has been extended until the end of July.

Football in Belgium has been on hold since March, with one round of regular fixtures left outstanding before its playoff stage.

In early April, the Pro League's board of directors recommended the season be brought to an early close with runaway leaders Club Brugge crowned champions.

That decision was to be put before a general assembly of clubs.

Late last month, that vote was postponed with the clubs deciding "by a very large majority" to wait for further government guidance.

A brief statement from the Pro League on Wednesday said, "The Pro League takes note of the decision taken by the National Security Council, which plans to stop professional football competitions until July 31.

"The closing procedures for the '19 -'20 season will be discussed at the General Assembly on May 15."

Pro League chairman Peter Croonen told VTM Nieuws, "It is good that there is finally clarity.

"I suspect that the General Assembly of the Pro League will be able to do nothing but determine that we cannot resume the competition."

That May 15 meeting will now determine the league's final placings and who will qualify for next season's European competitions.

It's expected the Pro League will adopt the same practice as France, and that's a points-per-game basis.

Potential relegation and promotion will also be on the table, as will the potential playing in August of the Belgian Cup final between Club Brugge and Antwerp.

Croonen says the government guidelines make it "feasible" for the 2020-21 season to start in mid-August behind closed doors adding, "We know that there is a very small chance that there will be fans in the stadium in August, but is that more likely in September?

"If we have to play without supporters, we will have to try to minimise the financial impact."

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