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
Royale Union Saint-Gilloise
The club is one of the most successful in the history of Belgian football, but currently plays in the second division. The club won eleven Belgian championships between 1904 and 1935, making it the most successful Belgian club before World War II, the team colours are blue and yellow and its matricule is the n°10. The club was founded in 1897 and obtained its first of eleven titles as Champion of Belgium in 1904, from 1933 to 1935 the team played 60 consecutive matches undefeated, setting a still unbeaten record in Belgium. In the early 1900s the club also had a dominant spell in some of the very first European Cup competitions that took place, prior to officially sanctioned UEFA competitions. Between 1958 and 1965 the club had a spell of European success, playing the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. In 1963, however, the club was relegated to the second division, note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality, head Coach Marc Grosjean Assistant Coach Grégory Vanmelkebeke Goalkeeper Coach Florent Delstanche Kiné Ali Errachidi Nick Parijs Christophe Goumotsios Official website
Royal Antwerp F.C.
Royal Antwerp Football Club, often simply referred to as Antwerp, is a Belgian football club based in the city of Antwerp. At first there was no organised football played by its members, until 1887 when the division was founded with an own board. In 1900, most of the left the club for the new neighbouring club of K. Beerschot V. A. C. Royal Antwerp have won four Belgian league titles so far, as well as two Belgian Cups, the club is also the latest Belgian team to have reached a UEFA competition final, the 1993 European Cup Winners Cup Final, where they lost 3–1 against Parma at Wembley Stadium. They have been playing in the Belgian Second Division since 2004–05, royal Antwerp play their home matches at the Bosuilstadion since 1923. Royal Antwerp colours are red and white, an example is Dong Fangzhuo, who was unable to play for United, immediately due to work permit problems and was loaned to allow him to gain first team experience. Despite being one of Belgiums best-supported clubs, Antwerp have been under-achievers for several years and they have not won a league title since 1957, and have spent several seasons in the second division. They were last promoted to the top flight in 2000, only to be relegated in order in 2004. They returned to the first division after 13 years in 2017, the best football players of Antwerp and Rotterdam contested a yearly match between 1909 and 1959 for the Meuse- and Scheldt Cup. It was agreed to play the game at stadium De Bosuil in Antwerp, the cup was provided in 1909 by P. Havenith from Antwerp and Kees van Hasselt from Rotterdam. Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
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
Koninklijke Racing Club Gent is a Belgian association football club from the city of Ghent, East Flanders. It is currently playing in the Promotion A, i. e. the fourth level in the Belgian football league system, the club underwent 5 merges and changed its name many times. It achieved its best ranking in 1925 and 1929 with a 5th place in the first division, the club was founded in the late nineteenth century with the fusion between Athletic Club Gantois, F. C. Gantois and Sport Pédestre Gantois. The new club named Racing Club de Gand registered to the Belgian Football Association in the late 1890s and it took part to the 1898–99 and 1899–1900 seasons in the first division B. Back in 1908 at the top level, the finished last. It lost the final of the first Belgian Cup in history in 1912, from 1911 to 1935 R. C. de Gand played in the first division and so did its rivals K. A. A. The club had changed its name to R. R. C. de Gand in 1925. In 1952 the club played in the first division again but this time for its last season at this stage, three years later it was relegated to the third division from which it would never be promoted. Gent merged with F. C. Heirnis Gent to become R. R. C and it then changed back briefly to R. R. C. Gent in 1999 and merged with K. V. V, standaard Meulestede in 2000 to become R. R. C. In 2002 the club merged with K. F. C, oostakker and changed its name to K. R. C. Finally in 2016 the club changed its name to K. R. C, updated 29 December 2015 Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
Koninklijke Voetbalclub Kortrijk is a Belgian professional football club based in Kortrijk, West Flanders. They play in the Belgian First Division, and they achieved their best ranking ever during the 2009–10 season, KV Kortrijk was founded in 1971, though their roots can be traced to 1901. They are registered to the Royal Belgian Football Association with matricule number 19, the club colours are red and white. They play their matches at the Guldensporenstadion, named after the Battle of the Golden Spurs which took place in Kortrijk in 1302. KV Kortrijk first entered the first division in the early 20th century and they eventually had to wait 65 years to return at the highest level, when they spent 15 seasons at the top flight, interrupted by a season in the second division. KV Kortrijk also played the 1998–99 season in the first division before they returned to the Belgian Pro League in the 2008–09 season, in 1901 SC Courtraisien was founded. The club merged with FC Courtraisien in 1918 and they received in 1951 the name Koninklijke Kortrijk Sport. They had the matricule n°19 like the oldest club SC Courtraisien, Stade Kortrijk was founded in 1923 with matricule n°161. Because Stade Kortrijk and Koninklijke Kortrijk Sport didnt play well anymore and they could play with matricule n°19 and the new name was KV Kortrijk. Due to a bankruptcy, KV Kortrijk had to relegate in 2001 to the third division, from 2004 to 2008 KV Kortrijk played in the second division, however in the 2007–08 season they managed to get promoted to the first division. KV Kortrijk was bought for €5 million by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan on 12 May 2015, the home kit is usually all red with a white trim, and red shorts. The away kit is similar, except in blue, the clubs logo is a white shield, split into thirds by a red upside-down, V-like shape, and the letters KVK are split into each third, in a red font. On top of the shield is a crown, KV Kortrijk play their home matches at the Guldensporen Stadion. It is located in Kortrijk, Belgium, and the current capacity of the ground is 9,399, in the summer of 2008, the grounds capacity was increased from 6,896 to 9,399, after Kortrijks elevation into the Belgian First Division. Guldensporenstadion literally means Stadium of the Golden Spurs, the stadium is named after this in reference to the Battle of the Golden Spurs which, in 1302, was fought in Kortrijk. The stadium has a local stadium look about it, and is single-tiered all around the ground. As of 2 February,2017 Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality