Jupiler Pro League

Bets and predictions for the Belgian Jupiler Pro League

The Belgian championships are among the oldest in Europe. The first championship was held in 1902. The country, located in England's neighbourhood, quickly took up the love of football by organising a regular championship. Interestingly, for many years the tournament had even more participants than today.

The interest in the Jupiler Pro Liga, as the Belgian competition is called, is determined on the one hand by the relatively high level of play by the local teams, and more importantly by their orientation towards attacking play. As a result, Belgium has one of the highest scoring football championships in Europe, attracting not just fans to the stands, but viewers to their TV screens too.

Competition regulations

The Belgian championships are perhaps the most confusing in terms of tournament organisation. A total of 16 teams take part in the tournament, meeting each other in a standard two-round scheme with away and home games. The tournament starts in August and ends in mid-March. But only the Main Tournament ends, after which all the excitement begins.

The easiest thing to do is to determine the teams that leave the top division. In Belgium, there is only one team each year. The rest of the teams continue to struggle.

The first six teams form the Championships - play-off group. In doing so, the teams carry forward the points earned in the championship games against the opponents ranked at the top of the league table. There are two round-robin tournaments with a total of 10 matches. After that, the champion, the runners-up and the winners of places in European competitions are determined, but even here there is a 'but'.

The champion qualifies for the Champions League group, while the second-placed team goes on to qualify for the tournament. The two Belgian teams will also play in the Europa League from the qualifying round. The bronze medallist gets this right away, while the team that finishes fourth qualifies for the Europa League national final. The second finalist is determined in a very original way.

All teams ranked 7th to 15th, as well as the three teams from the second division! Form two groups of six teams each, where all their previous points are reset. They play a two-round tournament. The group winners play each other and then the fourth team in the championship. The winner goes on to the Europa League. A unique situation where, in theory, it is possible to qualify for European competitions even from the second strongest division.

An early end to the Juppelais Ligue for the 2019/20 season

At the beginning of March 2020, the Belgian championships, like other sporting competitions in the world, were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The teams were left to play the last round of the regular season and the play-offs.

The difficult situation in the country and in Europe as a whole prevented the top clubs from playing more matches in March and April. Following the Belgian government's ban on public events until at least the thirty-first of July, the national football federation decided to end the championship early. This information later appeared on the officials' official websites.

What's the bottom line?

The Belgian champions for the 2019/20 season are Brugge, who had seventy points when the championship was suspended and were fifteen points ahead of their nearest pursuer, Gent. That decision was supported by almost all the clubs. And this is how the league leaders played each other in December.

The final decision on how the European places will be allocated and who will leave the top division at the end of the 17th national championship will be taken in May. That said, it is very likely that the domestic cup final will take place in August. Brugge and Antwerp will meet there.

The Belgian football officials have thus set a precedent by being the first to end the season early. It remains to be seen how UEFA will deal with their verdict. This means that Brugge and other clubs risk missing out on the Champions League and other European competitions in the next campaign.

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