CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Brugge to be named Belgium Pro League champions

Belgium's Pro League is set to be cancelled due to coronavirus, with Club Brugge in line to be declared champions.

Coronavirus: Club Brugge to be champions as Belgium's Pro League recommends cancellation

Belgium's Pro League has recommended calling an end to its 2019-20 season and accepting current positions as the final standings.

In what would be an unprecedented move in response to the coronavirus pandemic, current leaders Club Brugge stand to be named as champions.

A working group will now assess the potential sporting and financial implications of the board of directors' decision, with a general assembly to convene on April 15 and discuss the findings.

The Belgian top-flight has one regular-season round of fixtures remaining, which would normally precede a play-off competition to determine the winners and qualifiers for the Champions League and Europa League.

Brugge, who finished second in 2018-19, are 15 points clear and look set to benefit from Thursday's directive, while Waasland-Beveren – two points from safety at the foot of the table – are facing relegation.

A league statement read: "The Pro League board of directors met today by conference call. The most important item on the agenda was obviously the issue of continued competition in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

"The current situation, particularly precarious, in which our country finds itself has as a consequence that sport is not and cannot be considered as the first concern, however entertaining and relaxing it may be.

"In this context, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to make a recommendation, taking into account public health, the interests of all stakeholders and the wishes of the majority of clubs. to not resume competition."

It remains to be seen whether the final of the Belgian Cup, originally due to take place on March 22 between Brugge and Antwerp, will still go ahead later in the year.

Football and sport in general has been put on hold in the vast majority of countries around the world as governments attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Euro 2020 has been pushed back to 2021, as have the Olympics, with UEFA also postponing this year's Champions League and Europa League indefinitely. 

The top leagues in Europe are still on hiatus, with finishing the season still a priority, although UEFA chairman Aleksander Ceferin has acknowledged it may prove impossible to do so.