The Pro League will take an active role in the realization of a football competition with the best Dutch and Belgian clubs. The general meeting unanimously supports the plans.
The 24 Belgian professional football clubs, united in the Pro League, gathered on Tuesday about a reform of professional football. No consensus has yet been found about the competition format of 1A and 1B (first and second class). Club Brugge, Anderlecht, Standard, Ghent, Genk, Antwerp and Charleroi – the G7 – want to show their promise teams in 1B. Like Bruges is already doing this season.
Half of the competition would then consist of promise teams. The smaller clubs don’t like that. They fear that it will be the death knell of 1B, which is already being dismissed as the graveyard of professional football. “We still have time to make a decision,” responds Peter Croonen, the chairman of the Pro League. In the Netherlands, where our clubs often get the mustard, four of the twenty teams are promise teams in the second division.
The clubs can unanimously agree with the ambition to establish a Beneliga, a competition with the best Dutch and Belgian clubs. In handball, such a top league was founded 13 years ago.
A Beneliga can leverage the football of the Low Countries, both sporting and commercially. A study by the consultant Deloitte also shows that the (smaller) clubs that are lagging behind in the national competition would also benefit from the Belgian-Dutch project.
In our country Club Brugge, Ghent, Genk, Standard and Anderlecht (G5) can be found for a super competition. On the Dutch side, it concerns Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord, AZ, Vitesse and Utrecht.
“The future ambition is based on respect for the sporting aspirations for the top clubs and the need for economic stability for the other professional clubs on the basis of sustainable licensing and competition rules,” says the Pro League. There will be one national competition for the ‘laggards’.
The 24 clubs give the establishment of the Beneleague ‘every chance’ and the Pro League will play an active role in this, it says. The license terms will be revised in that light.