Club Brugge Crowned Belgium Pro League Champions As League Ends Abruptly

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Club Brugge have been crowned Belgian champions after the Jupiler Pro League's board of directors recommended that the season should be ended due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Club Brugge has a 15 points lead at the summit with one game remaining of the Belgian regular season. The ususal tradition of the league is that after the league has been concluded, the top six teams would compete in a play-off to determine who will be crowned champion and which teams awarded European places for next season. But with the outbreak of the pandemic, theplay-offs have been scraped with Brugge emerging champions.

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."

With this cancellation, 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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