By Samindra Kunti
March 23 – Belgian’s Pro League has earmarked €300,000 of its TV rights revenue for women’s football in a bid to boost and strengthen the game in the country. The step is a first sign that the league is taking the women’s game seriously.
At present Belgian professional clubs, who have a women’s team, receive €10,000 grants. After the 2019 Women’s World Cup, that figure will be increased substantially. The top five clubs in the Super League may received up to €50,000. “That amount can still increase,” said Pro League CEO Pierre François. “We are encouraging our clubs to enrol a women’s team in the second division.”
The Pro League will monitor the funds to ensure they are used for women’s football. Next season will see little change in the Belgian women’s Super League with six competing teams. Below the topflight, there is a second division A and B, and the regional and amateur leagues.
In the past Belgium’s top women’s teams played in the BeNe League, a joint competition with the best women’s team from neighbouring country the Netherlands, but the league was scrapped in 2015 and a return to a bi-national league is no longer an option as UEFA consider the format a direct competition for its own competition and a breach of its rules.
At the moment, the Pro League’s pledge has not been officially approved, but the move would offer Belgian clubs an incentive to invest in and develop the women’s game.
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