Remember the 15th May vote in Belgium? The absolute humongous mess. If not, read this article by our Belgian correspondent. Saying it was a clusterf*ck would not be far from the truth. Just recently the Belgian Competition Authority ruled at the start of this month that stopping the relegation of Waasland-Beveren would be unjustified as it is too big of an advantage for a temporary measure until they give a final verdict (which takes months or years depending on the case).
It seems there has been a dramatic u-turn though just now. After that ruling from the Competition Authority, the BAS was expected to follow that and make everything formal. That is not what happened, though. Having spoken with 2 Belgian correspondents (one of them is a Waasland-Beveren fan), it seems BAS stood with Waasland-Beveren and declared the Pro League’s decision of 15th of May void.
Disclaimer: The ruling is over 150 pages and the possible fallout has not yet been fully understood. This is the initial assessment of the ruling from two people following this in Belgium. The conversations have been lightly edited for clarity.
According to one of our Belgian correspondent, ”If I assume correctly, all decisions taken on the 15th are now void, and every decision has to be re-voted for. This includes the title (is or isn’t there a champion crowed for this season) and the competition formula for next season (16/18 teams, will there be play-offs and if so, in what way).”
Also, our other Belgian correspondent added, ”Well this could be the case, as the media has said that the decision is a document of 150 pages and the lawyers of all the parties are researching what exactly this decision means and what exactly is void. But it seems like (part of) the decisions on the 15th of May will have to be made again/voted on again.”
He continued: ”The funny thing is, yesterday there was a general assembly where they had the chance to vote for 18 teams, resolving everything. But because the Competition Authority said that putting Beveren in the 1st division would be a big advantage given by them, so they thought the BAS would say the same and just follow them and rule that the decisions on 15th of May are correct. But in the decision of the Competition Authority, it also stated that giving money to teams wasn’t correct for example; it wasn’t a complete “loss” for Beveren, just the advice to put us in the first division wasn’t expressed.”
As things stand, the league winners, relegated places are all void, and we will need a new vote. Complete and utter chaos and nobody knows what is going to happen.
And the competition starts exactly 1 month from now (and the promotion match already in 3 weeks and perhaps they have to revote if it has to be played or not). For a new vote, we have to wait at least 8 days if they send the invite with the agenda right now. It’ll be a race against the clock.
Update on this article at 22.40: We have some further clarification now. Tomorrow the board of directors of the competition in Belgium has a crisis meeting to discuss what happens next. There’s still a game for promotion so 2nd division wasn’t completely stopped, while the first division did completely stop is seen as unfair and incoherent. We’ll have to see if they’re just going to add Waasland-Beveren, retake the vote and add some more explanation (like in France), or switch to 18 teams without the relegation. But according to the reading of the Waasland lawyer, Bruges seems to be champions. Further according to Beveren lawyer, promotion is under threat, as is relegation. However, no one knows what the hell is going on right now as it is still unclear what part of the vote to end the league is still valid as of now.