Hi folks, it has been a while since I wrote my last column. You should read my column from the 6th of this month, which states that the Belgian Competition Authority’s ‘auditore’ (auditor) declared that the decision to relegate Waasland-Beveren constitutes an infringement of competition law. With this finding, the Auditorate will provide an analysis of the complaint and the requested interim measures and will also give its advice to the Competition Court. In a follow-up piece on the 11th of this month, I told you all about Jean-Louis Dupont (the super lawyer who assisted in the Bosman ruling) assisting teams like Waasland-Beveren.
The ‘auditore’ of the Belgian competition authority has now come out and said that it’s best for all parties to organise a competition with 18 teams next season, so no relegation and the 2 teams that had to play for promotion would get promoted. According to him, the current solution on offer isn’t fair.
He further states that playing the last games would’ve been best, but doing that right now (just playing the games that would decide relegation or the full last matchday) after stopping the league would pose too many problems. So the advice to the federation is to organise a competition of 18 teams.
According to the Belgian newspapers, the CAS is waiting on the verdict of the competition authority to make their decision. This will be an important moment, the competition authority can only give advice on what should happen and/or give fines, but the Belgian CAS can undo the earlier decision to relegate teams, let others play for promotion and play with 16 next year. This would lead to a new vote about the promotion/relegation this season and the competition format of next season.
The signals right now are that the competition authority will rule in favour of people contesting the earlier decision with the auditore now advising for competition with 18 next season. It’s still a waiting game, but the fact that the auditore reached this conclusion is a good sign.
Next on the list is a ruling of the judges of the competition authority, then the CAS and a new general assembly. This is currently planned for next Monday, but it is doubtful that there will be a ruling by both courts by then. So Hearts, Partick Thistle, Stranraer, Amiens and Toulouse fans take heart.
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