Club Brugge awarded Belgian Pro League title as season ended early

KAA Gent to enter Champions League qualifiers; Charleroi, Antwerp, Standard Liege qualify for Europa League; bottom club Waasland-Beveren relegated

Club Brugge

Club Brugge have been awarded the Belgian Pro League title after the league board decided to end the season early.

At a meeting on Friday, the Pro League board of directors ratified the decision made on April 2 recommending the season should be curtailed in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The board also decided to award places in UEFA competitions according to each side's league position, meaning second-placed KAA Gent will qualify for the Champions League's third qualifying round.

Third-placed Sporting Charleroi will enter the Europa League group stages while Royal Antwerp and Standard Liege have qualified for the competition's third and second qualifying round respectively as it stands.

However, the final of the Belgian Cup between Club Brugge and Royal Antwerp still needs to take place and if the match can be played before August 3 and Antwerp win, they would qualify directly for the Europa League instead of Charleroi.

It has also been decided bottom club Waasland-Beveren will be relegated to the Proximus League and will be replaced by the winner of the promotion play-off final between Beerschot VA and OH Leuven, with the former 1-0 ahead after the first leg played on March 8.

The Belgian post-season format would usually see a second play-off 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.

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Runaway leaders Brugge sat 15 points ahead of second-placed KAA Gent after 29 matchdays before the season was paused in March.

The Belgian government has banned all sports events until July 31, but has given permission to sports teams to return to training from Monday with up to 20 players allowed in a session as long as they are socially distanced and overseen by a coach at the club's training ground.

Last month, the Royal Belgian FA said it was seeking UEFA approval before ending the season with the purpose of preserving "the spots for Belgian teams in the European competitions for the 2020-2021 season".

It came after UEFA threatened expulsion from European competition for clubs from nations that failed to complete their league seasons.

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