Belgian soccer league switches to 18-team format

The Belgium league has changed its format for the next two seasons, switching to a 18-team competition following a court ruling that ordered the reinstatement of a demoted team.

Following a meeting of its general assembly on Friday, the league took the decision to include demoted side Waasland-Beveren, which was relegated in May when Belgian authorities decided to stop the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Waasland-Beveren took the case to court, arguing that it could have stayed among the elite if the season had not been cut short, and the league was ordered to reinstate the club in the toplight. A failure to do so would have resulted in a penalty of €2.5 million for every match played without Waasland-Beveren.

Starting next weekend, the topflight season was initially planned with 16 teams, including the winner of the second division playoff between Leuven and Beerschot, who are facing off in the return leg this weekend. But to avoid a complex 17-team format both will now play in the top division in addition to Waasland-Beveren with the match on the weekend merely deciding the second division champion.

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