by Linda Ikeji
Club Brugge have been declared Belgian champions after the remainder of the top-flight season was cancelled on Thursday in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Jupiler Pro League’s board of directors voted unanimously for cancellation of the season in a conference call on Thursday.
Before the decision was made to end to the 2019-20 campaign, Brugge were 15 points clear of second-placed Gent with one round of matches left to play before the start of the post-season playoffs, which usually determine the championship winner and the Europa League places involving the top six clubs.
The decision means that Club Brugge have now claimed their 16th league title including securing a place in next season’s Champions League.
The Board of Directors took note of the recommendations of Dr Van Ranst and the government that it is highly unlikely that games with the public will be played before June 30′, the league said in a statement.
‘The current situation also makes it very unclear whether and when a resumption of collective training courses can be foreseen at all.
‘Even if games behind closed doors could theoretically be possible, the additional pressure they place on health and order services should be avoided. Moreover, decisions by local authorities threaten to make a joint course of match days impossible.
‘The Board of Directors has unanimously decided that it is not desirable to continue the competition after June 30. Given the above elements, the Board of Directors has formulated a unanimous advice to the General Meeting not to resume the competitions of the season ’19 -’20 and to accept the current state of the Jupiler Pro League as final classification [subject to the decisions of the licensing committee].’