Special: The reformation of Belgian football (2016-2017)

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In June 2015 the Belgian National Study Commission approved the reformation of professional and amateur football. The involved clubs unanimously gave their permission for the reformation as well

In this blogpost I will try to explain the new regulations, which will come into force at the start of the 2016-2017 season. But keep in mind that some of these regulations may still change.

I will try to bright up the broad outlines of the reformation, the regulation of the new divisions and the way the competitions will be played including promotions and relegations at the national level and the amateur competitions.


Updates

  • 2nd division: 3 teams participating in PO II (before: 2 or 3 teams)
  • D3 Amateur: 2x 14 Walloon teams (before: 2x 16 teams)
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The outlines of the reformation

Professional Football: 24 teams, 2 divisions, 2 leagues
1st division
Jupiler Pro League: 16 teams
2nd division
Proximus League: 8 teams
Amateur Football: 128 teams, 3 divisions, 7 leagues
3th division = D1 Amateur: 16 clubs
2015-2016 : relegation from 2nd division for 9 clubs
2015-2016 : promotion from 3th division for 7 clubs
4th division = D2 Amateur : 48 clubs
D2 Amateur A D2 Amateur B D2 Amateur C
16 Flemish teams 16 Flemish Teams 16 Walloon Teams
5th division = D3 Amateur : 60 clubs
D3 Amateur A D3 Amateur B D3 Amateur C D3 Amateur D
16 Flemish teams 16 Flemish teams 14 Walloon teams 14 Walloon teams

All in all this means: At this moment Belgium has 8 national levels including 134 clubs. From next season (2016-2017) on it will be 9 levels including 148 clubs.

Licenses

Belgian clubs must meet requirements to play football at the highest levels. The leagues where you need a license are:

  • Jupiler Pro League
  • Proximus League
  • D1 Amateur

The requirements clubs must meet:

Professional football: (2018-2019)
Jupiler Pro League, Proximus League

  • A club has to contract 22 (part-time) professional players (at least!);
  • The stadium lights should be at least 800 lux;
  • The ground has to be able to hold 8.000 fans and at least 5.000 seats shoud be available.

Amateur football: (2018-2019)
D1 Amateur (only!)

  • A club has to contract 7 part-time players (at least!);
  • The stadium lights should be at least 300 lux;
  • The ground has to be able to hold 1.500 fans and at least 300 seats shoud be available.

Professional Football (2016-2017)

1st division (Jupiler Pro League)

The competition is contested by sixteen clubs playing 30 matches.
After the regular season:
- Play-off 1: the numbers 1 to 6, playing ten matches. The winners are the new champions.
- Play-off 2: the numbers 7 and 15 of the championship, plus a maximum of three teams from the 2nd division.
- The number 16 from the final ranking relegates to the 2nd division.

* New in playoff 2:
- Playoff 2 is played in two leagues of up to six clubs.
- League A is composed of the 7th, 9th, 12th and 14th ranked in the 1st division. The 1st and 3rd placed club From the 2nd division will be added to this league (total = 6 clubs).
- League B is composed of the 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th ranked in the 1st division. The 2nd placed club from the 2nd division will be added to this league (total = 6 clubs)

- In this Leagues A and B all teams will play every team in their league at home and away, making it 10 games each.

- The winners of leagues A and B play (if they have a European license), a play-off game at the club that ended highest in the regular championship.
- If the winner in group A or B doesn't have a European license, the club will be replaced by the next club in the ranking under the condition that they have their European license.
- The winner of the play-off game (with possible extra-time and penalties) between the winners of the leagues A and B is the winner of playoff 2.
- The winner of playoff 2 plays another test match against a club from playoff 1, specifically a club who may be entitled to the last ticket for a European competition.
- The winner of this play-off will also get the last ticket for the European competitions.


2nd division (Proximus League)

The 2nd division (1B) consists of a championship being contested by eight clubs.
- These eight clubs playing a "double" competition, so two times 14 games.
- These 28 rounds will be divided into two periods of 14 matches.
- At the end of the season there is a play-off (with possible extra-time and penalties) between the winners of both championships periods. The winner of these play-off games will gain promotion to the 1st division.
- If one team wins both periods no play-off will be played because the team will gain automatic promotion.

Play-off 2:
- The four best-placed clubs in the final standings of the championship in 1B participate in play-off 2 (1st division)
- If the winner of the play-off games is in those first four, only the 3 remaining teams will participate in play-off 2.

Play-off 3:
There will also be played a Play-off 3 between (maximum) 4 clubs from the 2nd division. The loser of this competition will relegate to division 3, which is Amateur 1.
- The teams finishing in the last four places in the final standings of the championship (without taking into account the champions and the participants of play-off 2) will participate in play-off 3.
- Before the start of the play-off 3, the clubs get 50 percent of the number of points they had scored in the championship. If this is not an integer, it is rounded up.
- The (maximum) four teams play a mini-league of (up to) six races, (maximum) three home and away games.




 

Amateur Football (2016-2017)

3th division - D1 Amateur

- This league is similar to the previous 3rd national division, but there are only 16 clubs in play. (in the past: 2 leagues of 16-18 teams)
- The first in the final ranking of the competition, the champion, is NOT sure about promotion.
- At the end of the season (2016-2017) the first four in the standings will play a play-off (six games) with half of their earned points as a starting total.
- The winner of this play-off is the "Champion of Belgium Amateurvoetbal" and gains promotion (in case they have their license for professional football)
- After the regular season the last three teams from the final standings relegate to the Second Division Amateurs. (D2 Amateurs)
- The fourth last in the standings (#13) plays a final round with three clubs in the Second Division Amateurs.
- The winner of that final round gains promotion to (or remains in) the First Class Amateurs.

4th division - D2 Amateur A-B-C

- In this division there are three leagues: two in Flanders and one in Wallonia.
- Each of these three leagues has 16 clubs, a total of 48.
- In this league there is a periodic championship as well (the winner of the competition every 10 games, so 3 times in a championship).
- The champions of each of the three leagues will gain promotion to the First Division Amateurs (D1 Amateurs) if they have their license.
- The three teams (two Flemish and Walloon one) who whill finish second in their divisions, plus the nine periodic champions, a total of 12 teams, play a final round for promotion to the First Division Amateurs (D1 Amateurs).
- The last two clubs from each division relegate directly to Third Division Amateurs (D3 Amateurs), six teams total.
- The number 14 can relegate as well but this depends on the number of "Flemish" teams relegating from the First Division Amateur. (D1 Amateur)

5th division - D3 Amateur A-B-C-D

- In this division there are four leagues: two in Flanders and two in Wallonia.
- Each of the four league has 16 clubs, a total of 64.
- In this league there is a periodic championship as well (the winner of the competition every 10 games, so 3 times in a championship).
- The champions of each of the three leagues will gain promotion to the Second Division Amateurs (D2 Amateurs) if they have their license.
- The four teams (two Flemish and Walloon two) to finish second in their divisions, plus the twelve periodic champions, a total of 16 teams, play a final round for promotion to the Second Division Amateurs (D2 Amateurs).
- Depending on the number of 'Flemish' losers from the First Amateur (D1 Amateur) there may be some extra promotion places.
- The last three clubs from each division relegates directly to the provincial series, twelve teams total.
- The number 13 can relegate as well but this depends on the number of "Flemish" teams relegating from the Second Division Amateur (D2 Amateur).

Provincial

- The champion of the 1st provincial department of each province gains promotion to 3rd class amateurs.

Participating teams

Jupiler Pro League

  1. RSC Anderlecht
  2. Club Brugge KV
  3. KRC Genk
  4. KAA Gent
  5. KV Kortrijk
  6. KV Oostende
  7. Sporting Lokeren
  8. KV Mechelen
  9. Mouscron-Peruwelz
  10. Sint Truiden VV
  11. Sporting Charleroi
  12. Standard de Liege
  13. Waasland-Beveren
  14. Westerlo
  15. Zulte Waregem
  16. 2nd division winner

Proximus League

  1. OH Leuven
  2. Tubeke
  3. Union Sint Gillis
  4. Cercle Brugge
  5. Lommel United
  6. #2 2nd division
  7. #3 2nd division
  8. #8 2nd division

Amateur D1

  1. Coxyde
  2. Heist
  3. Patro Eisden
  4. Deinze
  5. Geel
  6. Excelsior Virton
  7. RFC Seraing
  8. Sint Eloois Winkel
  9. Hamme VV
  10. Germinal Beerschot Wilrijk
  11. Oosterzonen
  12. #9 2nd division
  13. #10 2nd division
  14. #1 Play-off 3th division
  15. #2 Play-off 3th division
  16. #3 Play-off 3th division

Amateur D2

  1. Temse
  2. La Louviere
  3. Olsa Brakel
  4. Gullegem
  5. Sint Niklaas
  6. Gent - Zeehaven
  7. Bornem
  8. Izegem
  9. Torhout
  10. #17 3th division A
  11. #7 3th division A
  12. #8 3th division B
  13. Cappellen
  14. Berchem Sport
  15. Ciney
  16. Hamoir
  17. Hoogstraten
  18. Tempo Overijse
  19. Walhain
  20. Kelmis
  21. KVK Tienen
  22. Grimbergen
  23. Knokke
  24. #2 4th division A
  25. #3 4th division A
  26. Olympic Charleroi
  27. Duffel
  28. Sporting Chatelet
  29. Hades
  30. Olympia Wijgmaal
  31. #3 4th division C
  32. #1 4th division D
  33. #2 4th division D
  34. #3 4th division D
  35. Play-off loser 3th division
  36. Play-off loser 3th division
  37. Play-off loser 3th division
  38. Play-off loser 3th division
  39. Play-off loser 3th division

I don't know where the Belgian FA will find the 9 other teams, but they will be in th 3th division by the start of the new season...

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