Belgian Pro League plunged back into chaos as court rules Waasland-Beveren must stay in

July 31 – Belgium’s Pro League will again consider plans for the 2020/21 season after a court ruled that Waasland-Beveren, previously relegated, needed to be included in the fixtures list. The new season is due to kick off on August 8.

At the start of July, the BAS, the Belgian equivalent of the CAS, overturned the Pro League’s decision to relegate Waasland-Beveren and that verdict was indirectly confirmed by a court which ruled that the club couldn’t be omitted from next season’s match calendar.

The Pro League will have to pay a penalty of €2.5 million for every match played without Waasland-Beveren featuring in the table of play.

The Pro League interpreted the BAS’ ruling narrowly, arguing that it needed a stronger motivation for the decision to relegate Waasland-Beveren. The Pro League was expected to ratify Beveren’s relegation today, but the latest legal ruling could prompt a rethink.

The Belgian top-flight is supposed to kick off in the second week of August with 16 clubs and shortened season-ending play-offs, but Beveren’s legal position suggests a league with 18 clubs would be a potential way out of the standoff. Previously, the support of the smaller clubs for an 18-team league format vaporized after internal politicking.

In a statement, the Pro League and the Belgian FA acknowledged the latest legal ruling. Beveren’s chairman Dirk Huyck has vowed however that his club will go to the BAS again to prevent the new season from getting underway if the Pro League sticks to its position.

In May, the Pro League crowned Brugge champions and condemned Waasland-Beveren to relegation, with one round of matches of the regular season left uncompleted. The decision followed the league’s move in April to cancel the domestic season because of the coronavirus, sending shockwaves across Europe and invoking the ire of continental governing body UEFA who had asked leagues to remain flexible over restart dates.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1603885440labto1603885440ofdlr1603885440owedi1603885440sni@o1603885440fni1603885440