Thursday 2 April 2020 14:39, UK
Club Brugge could be crowned Belgian champions early after the Jupiler Pro League's board of directors recommended the season should be ended early because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The recommendation, made on Thursday, still needs to be endorsed at a general assembly meeting on April 15.
Club Brugge were 15 points clear with one game remaining of the Belgian regular season, after which the top six teams would have competed in a play-off competition to determine who was crowned champion and which teams awarded European places for next season.
The Pro League said via a statement the decision had been made under the advice that it was "highly unlikely" games would be played in front of the public before June 30, a date after which they consider it undesirable to continue the season beyond.
"A resumption of the competition would in no way outweigh the health risks for players, employees and everyone involved in the competition organisation and the necessary maintenance of order," the statement said.
"In addition, possible contamination of a player or the core of the team risks to influence the sporting course of the further competition in an unacceptable manner.
"Even if games behind closed doors could theoretically be possible, the additional pressure they place on health and order services should be avoided."
The Belgian post-season format would usually see a second playoff competition between the remaining 10 teams in the top flight and the top six teams from the second tier, with the winner going on to face a team from the other play-off competition for the country's final European place.
However, with those competitions cancelled, the European places look set to be awarded to Gent, Charleroi and Antwerp, who currently occupy 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, while bottom side Waasland-Beveren would be relegated.
The statement added that a working group has been set up to consider complications and "financial implications" caused by the decision to end the season prematurely.
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