Belgian football Association has cancelled the rest of the season and crowned Club Brugge champions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
They have broken ranks from the rest of Europe and called an immediate end to the 2019-20 campaign with just one game of the regular season to go before the play-offs, which usually determine the championship winner and the Europa League places.
The Jupiler Pro League’s board of directors voted unanimously for cancellation in a conference call on Thursday – and it is expected to be ratified by the general assembly on April 15.
Brugge are 15 points clear of Gent in second – who have now claimed a place in next season’s Champions League – and claim their 16th league title.
The league, which comprises 26 teams, usually ends after 30 games before the top six enter a play-off system.
Their points tally is halved, and rounded up, for the play-offs before they face each other again home and away.
‘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.