Brugge and Anderlecht bosses to jointly chair Pro League for crucial 6 months

January 11 – Club Brugge’s Vincent Mannaert and Anderlecht’s Wouter Vandenhaute will lead the Belgian Pro League for the next six months following the resignation of chairman Peter Croonen. 

“The General Assembly approved a mandate for Vincent Mannaert (as representative of Club Brugge) and Wouter Vandenhaute (as representative of RSC Anderlecht),” said the Pro League in a statement.

“They will commit to fully support the Pro League in the next 6 months (until June 30) in a number of crucial issues for the future of professional football (short and longer-term), in consultation with both CEO Pierre François as well as both the board of directors of the Pro League and with external partners.”

The choice for the duo is strategic. They are seen as heavyweights in the Belgian game with the necessary command and experience to negotiate with the government over fiscal reforms that would adversely affect the game.

In December, Croonen resigned 6 months before the end of his mandate after a dispute over the domestic calendar with Racing Genk, the club he chairs.

“As chairman of Genk and the Pro League, this is the balancing act too much for me,” explained Croonen his resignation. “Such a mandatory combination is legally embedded for all directors and therefore systemic within the Pro League. The strategic reform in 2022 should solve this. I advocate for an independent chairman, in addition to independent directors.  And the need for change does not stop there.”

Belgian domestic football has endured torrid times recently.

New revelations in the ‘Propere Handen’ case – the federal public prosecutor’s investigation into money laundering, bribery and match-fixing – have surfaced. Top flight matches have been rocked by crowd disturbances and racism incidents, and AA Gent remains the only Belgian club in European competition.

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