Belgian First Division A
The Belgian First Division A is the top league competition for association football clubs in Belgium. Following the 2015–16 season it was renamed from the Belgian Pro League, contested by 16 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Belgian First Division B. Seasons run from late July to early May, with teams playing 30 matches each in the regular season, play-offs 1 are contested by the top 6 clubs in the regular season, with each club playing each other twice. Play-offs 2 are contested by teams ranked 7 to 15 in the regular season, the team finishing in 16th place is relegated. As of 2014 the league was sponsored by AB InBev, brewers of Jupiler beer, and officially known as Jupiler Pro League, the competition was created in 1895 by the Royal Belgian Football Association and was first won by FC Liégeois. Of the 74 clubs to have competed in the first division since its creation,15 have been crowned champions of Belgium, RSC Anderlecht is the most successful league club with 33 titles, followed by Club Brugge KV, Union Saint-Gilloise and Standard Liège. It is currently ranked 10th in the UEFA rankings of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five-years. The competition was ranked 3rd when the UEFA first published their ranking in 1979 and also the year in 1980. FC Liégeois became the first champion of Belgium, the first 8 titles in Belgian football were all won by FC Liégeois or RC de Bruxelles. There was no promotion and relegation system at the time but the last two clubs of the league withdrew and a new club entered the competition, during the 1896–97 season, SC de Bruxelles withdrew so the 1897–98 season was played among 5 clubs only. In the seasons 1898–99 and 1899–1900, the association introduced a new format with two leagues at the top level and then a final game in two legs. The format though changed back to one league with 9 clubs in 1900–01, in 1904–05 the championship was organised with one league of 11 teams. In 1906–07, Union Saint-Gilloise won their 4th consecutive title as RC de Bruxelles had from 1899–1900 to 1902–03, both clubs claimed the next 3 titles before CS Brugeois won their first title, finishing one point ahead their rival of FC Brugeois. As World War I approached, Daring Club de Bruxelles confirmed its status of challenger, even winning the title in 1911–12, only Union Saint-Gilloise could face them in that period, winning the 1912–13 championship with a better goal difference. Since 1911–12, two clubs are relegated each year to the Promotion and two clubs from the Promotion are promoted, during World War I, the football championship was suspended. It resumed in 1919–20 with FC Brugeois claiming their first title after 5-second places, among which were 2 lost final games, the challengers at the time were CS Brugeois, Union Saint-Gilloise, Daring Club de Bruxelles and Standard Club Liégeois. Starting 25 December 1932, Union Saint-Gilloise had a record 60 games unbeaten run in the championship, winning the 1932–33, 1933–34, the rival of Union during this period was Daring Club de Bruxelles. They claimed the two championships
Koninklijke Beerschot Antwerpen Club, simply known as Beerschot AC, was a Belgian football club based in southern Antwerp. The club was established in 1999 as the result of the merger between K Beerschot VAC and KFC Germinal Ekeren, from which they took over the matricule number and history. Prior to the merger, Germinal Ekeren had been a first division club for 10 years, the club won 2 Belgian Cups, one as Germinal Ekeren in 1997, the other as Germinal Beerschot in 2005. Their best league ranking was a 3rd place in 1995–96 and in 1997–98, following the merger in 1999, the club moved from the Veltwijckstadion in the municipality of Ekeren to the Olympisch Stadion in the Kiel neighbourhood in Antwerp. Their outfits mixed the yellow and red of Germinal Ekeren with the purple of Beerschot and their biggest rival is Royal Antwerp FC. On 17 May 2011, the changed its name again to Koninklijke Beerschot Antwerpse Club or Beerschot AC. In addition, the set its motto to the Latin phrase Tene Quod Bene. After being relegated in 2012–13, the club went bankrupt at the end of the season and was removed from competition altogether, in June 2013 K. FC. O. Wilrijk unofficially merged with Beerschot AC into FCO Beerschot Wilrijk. This new club started in the first division of the Belgian Provincial leagues, in 1920 F. C. Germinal Ekeren was founded in the town of Ekeren, a northern suburb of Antwerp. Several years earlier, in 1899, Beerschot was founded at Het Kiel, an outskirt of Antwerp. In 1971 they added the prefix Koninklijk to their name, the team reached the top division in Belgian football in 1989 and finished 13th. They achieved their highest league position of third in 1996 and 1998, Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen kept the matricule n°3530 of Ekeren to keep their place in the first division, but retained the stadium of Beerschot, rebuilding it in the process. By keeping the matricule of Ekeren, the honours of Beerschot were considered to be distinct and separate from the new team, in 2004 further financial difficulties were experienced and Marc Brys, a Belgian football coach was brought in. He led the team to victory in the Belgian Cup that year, after only 7 matches in the Jupiler League 2005-06 season, he was fired due to bad results. The current coach is Glen De Boeck after the previous coach Jos Daerden left to become an assistant coach at Dutch club Twente, may 2013, Naamloze vennootschap Beerschot announced it will be liquidated. After having failed to present a plan to the Royal Belgian Football Association. Unable to attract enough financial means to continue playing in a division they decided upon liquidation. Late May 2013 the entourage and fans of Beerschot started negotiations with FCO. Wilrijk, in June 2013 when K. FC. O. Wilrijk its name into F. C. O
Club Brugge KV
Club Brugge Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging, commonly referred to as just Club Brugge, is a football club based in Bruges in Belgium. It was founded in 1891 and its ground is the Jan Breydel Stadium. Throughout its long history, Club Brugge has enjoyed much European football success, Club Brugge is the only Belgian club to have played the final of the European Cup so far, losing to Liverpool in the final of the 1978 season. They also lost in the 1976 UEFA Cup Final to the same opponents, Club Brugge holds the European record number of consecutive participations in the UEFA Europa League, the record number of Belgian cups and the record number of Belgian Supercups. 1890, Brugsche Football Club Club created by old students of the Catholic school Broeders Xaverianen,13 November 1891, Club recreated The club was recreated. This has since adopted as the official date of foundation. 1892, First board An official board was installed in the club,1894, Football Club Brugeois Club created by 16 old members of Brugsche FC. 1895, Vlaamsche Football Club de Bruges Club created in the city, 1895–96, the UBSSA set up in 1895. and they went to the UBSSA and took part of the first Belgian national league. 1896, Leaving the UBSSA Financially it was difficult for FC Brugeois,1897, Fusion FC Brugeois joined Brugsche FC but they continued under the name Football Club Brugeois. 1902, New fusion Vlaamsche FC joined FC Brugeois,1912, De Klokke They moved to a new stadium named De Klokke. 1913–14, First cup final FC Brugeois reached their first Belgian Cup final,1920, First time league champions The club became for the first time champions of the first division. 1926, Royal Football Club Brugeois The club get number 3 as their matricule number,1928, First relegation A first low when the club was relegated to the second division. 1930, New statute President Albert Dyserynck changed the statute into a non-profit association. 1931, Albert Dyserynckstadion When president Albert Dyserynck suddenly died they honoured him by changing the name into Albert Dyserynckstadion. 1959, Permanent to the first division RFC Brugeois promoted to the first division,1968, First time cup winners They won the Belgian Cup for the first time against Beerschot AC. 1972, Club Brugge Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging The club changed their name into the Flemisch name Club Brugge KV1975,1976, Highest position in UEFA Cup Under Austrian coach Ernst Happel, Club Brugge reached the finals of the UEFA Cup and lost against Liverpool. 1978, Only Belgian European Cup 1 finalists Still under Ernst Happel and this time it was in the European Champions Clubs Cup final. Club Brugge is the only Belgian club that has reached the finals of the European biggest competition,1992, First goal scorer in the Champions League Daniel Amokachi is the first goal scorer in the Champions League
Cercle Brugge K.S.V.
Cercle Brugge Koninklijke Sportvereniging is a Belgian professional football club based in Bruges. Cercle have played in the Belgian Pro League since the 2003–04 season, the club play home games at the Jan Breydel Stadium, which they share with fierce rivals Club Brugge. Cercle Brugge won their first national title in 1911, and won two titles before the Second World War. The side also won the Belgian Cup in 1927 and in 1985, Cercle Brugge was founded on 9 April 1899 as Cercle Sportif Brugeois by former students of the Saint Francis Xavier Institute, colloquially known as De Frères in Bruges. Originally, the focused on five sports, football, cricket, lawn tennis. Cercle Brugge became a member of the Royal Belgian Football Association in 1900 and were awarded matricule number 12, Cercle achieved their first success in the 1902 Henri Fraeys Cup, defeating Olympique Iris Club Lillois and US Tourcoing. After winning another few friendly cups Cercle achieved their first big success, Cercle ended a single point ahead of their main rivals FC Bruges, after their confrontation on the seasons last matchday ended in a 1–1 draw. Three years later Belgian football was devastated by World War I, former player Alphonse Six also lost his life. Cercle resumed competitive football in 1919 with an almost completely new team, Louis Saeys was the only player to remain in the team from before the war. Expectations were low, but the finished third in the league. The monument still exists and now stands in front of the Jan Breydel Stadium, in 1923 Cercle extended their stadium facilities again, moving 100 metres from their old pitch to a newly built stadium. This ground, later named the Edgard De Smedt Stadium, became Cercles home for more than 50 years, in 1924 the club changed its name from Cercle Sportif Brugeois to Royal Cercle Sportif Brugeois. The club embarked on a period, led by two key players, Belgian record international Florimond Vanhalme and player-coach Louis Saeys. Cercle led the league midway through the 1925–26 season, but player injuries led to results that saw them finish in fifth place. Cercle made a start to the 1929–30 season, entering the mid-season winter break in sixth place. Nonetheless, by the weekend of the season they had narrowed the gap to a single point. The side then faced a wait for the result of Antwerp against 10th placed Standard Liège. In the end, the news reached team captain Florimond Vanhalme that Antwerp had lost 3–5, meaning Cercle had won their third, because of this title Cercle were invited to take part in the Coupe des Nations, which is regarded as the predecessor of the Champions League