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
Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, usually known as Anderlecht or RSCA, is a Belgian professional football club based in Anderlecht, Brussels Capital-Region. They have also won nine Belgian Cups and hold the record for most consecutive Belgian championship titles, founded in 1908, the club first reached the highest level in Belgian football in 1921–22 and have been playing in the first division continuously since 1935–36. They won their first major trophy after World War II with a win in 1946–47. Since then, they have never finished outside the top six of the Belgian first division and they are ranked 12th amongst all-time UEFA club competition winners, tenth in the IFFHS continental Clubs of the 20th Century European ranking and were 41st in the 2012 UEFA team rankings. In 1986, they achieved their best UEFA ranking with a joint first place with Juventus Anderlecht have been playing their matches in the Astrid Park in the municipality of Anderlecht since 1917. Their current stadium, Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, was first opened in 1983 and they play in purple and white outfits. They have long-standing rivalries with Club Brugge and Standard Liège and previously with FC Brussels, founded as Sporting Club Anderlechtois on 27 May 1908 by a dozen football lovers at the Concordia café, the club beat Institut Saint-Georges in their first match by 11–8. They joined the competition in 1909–10, starting at the lowest level in the Belgian football league system. In 1912–13, they gained promotion to the level of football. After only one season at level, the championships were suspended due to World War I. With the popularity of the increasing, Anderlecht had moved to a new stadium in the Astrid Park in 1917. They baptized the stadium Stade Emile Versé in honor of the clubs first major patron, at the end of the 1920–21 season, Anderlecht were promoted to the first division for the first time in their history. In 1933,25 years after their formation, the changed their name to Royal Sporting Club Anderlechtois. Since their promotion in 1935, Anderlecht has remained at the top level of football, with Jef Mermans, a striker signed from K Tubantia FC in 1942 for a record fee of 125,000 Belgian francs, Anderlecht won their first league title in 1947. Their success increased in the years as they won six more titles between 1949–50 and 1955–56 and two more in 1958–59 and 1961–62. In the 1960s, under the coaching of Pierre Sinibaldi and then of Andreas Beres, the club won five titles in a row. The star of this team was Paul Van Himst, Anderlecht played in the first European Champion Clubs Cup in 1955–56, and lost both legs of their tie against Vörös Lobogo. They had to wait until the 1962–63 season to win their first European tie, with a 1–0 victory over Real Madrid, for the first time, they advanced to the second round, where they beat CSKA Sofia before losing to Dundee in the quarter-finals
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
R. Charleroi S.C.
Royal Charleroi Sporting Club is a Belgian football club based in the city of Charleroi, in the province of Hainaut. Charleroi plays in the Belgian Pro League and their current spell at the highest level in Belgian football has started in the 2012–13 season, Charleroi was founded in 1904 and they first reached the first division in 1947–48. Their highest finish was runner-up in the 1968–69 season and they have also twice reached the Belgian Cup final, losing in 1977–78 to Beveren and in 1992–93 to Standard Liège. Sporting Charleroi have a rivalry with city other club ROC de Charleroi-Marchienne. Charleroi play their matches at the Stade du Pays de Charleroi. The stadium hosted 3 group stage games in the Euro 2000 among which the 1–0 victory of England against Germany, Charleroi have been recruiting several French players in recent years, including Michaël Ciani, Cyril Théréau and goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait. Charleroi Sporting Club was founded in 1904 and they received the matricule n°22, twenty years after their foundation, they qualified to play in the Promotion and in 1929, the club changed its name to Royal Charleroi Sporting Club. Rivals from Olympic Charleroi were playing in the first division in the late 1930s, in 1949, Sporting Charleroi finished 4th whereas Olympic Charleroi was 14th. But Olympic took the lead again until 1955 and their relegation to the second division, at the end of the 1956–57 season, Olympic Charleroi had promoted to the first division but Sporting Charleroi finished last in the first division and was thus relegated to the second division. A spell of 9 seasons in the division followed and in 1966–67 Sporting Charleroi was back at the top level. They finished at the place in 1968–695 points behind Standard Liège. In 1974 the first division was changing from 16 to 20 teams, Olympic Charleroi promoted too as they had won the second division right before but they remained at the top level for just one season. Sporting underwent a new relegation in 1979–80 but was five years later. Their best result since then in the first division is a 4th place in 1993–94, in September 2005, the G-14 took FIFA to court over the 8-month injury incurred by Abdelmajid Oulmers whilst on international duty with Morocco. The colours of Charleroi are black and white with a shirt generally striped, the actual ground was baptized in 1939 with a match Sporting-Union du Centre and it was located near the coal mine named Mambourg. In 1985 the stadium was modernized as the club had qualified for the first division. It was then renewed in the late 1990s in view of the 2000 European Football Championship. The name changed on May 24,1999 from Stade du Mambourg to Stade du Pays de Charleroi, during the tournament, the full capacity of the stadium was up to 30,000 seats
R.O.C. de Charleroi-Marchienne
Royal Olympic Club de Charleroi-Marchienne, a. k. a. ROCCM, is a Belgian association football club from the city of Charleroi, as of 2010, they play in Belgian Third Division B. It was founded in 1912 as Olympic Club de Charleroi, the next year the club registered to the Belgian Football Association to become the matricule n°246. Between 1972 and 1982 the club was named R. O. C. de Montignies-sur-Sambre, in 2000 the club merged with R. A. Marchienne and changed its name from Royal Olympic Club de Charleroi to its present name. O. C. de Charleroi first appeared in the division in 1936 and it won its league eight points ahead of U. S. du Centre. It then played in the first division until 1963, joined at that level by the rival Charleroi S. C. in 1947, Olympic finished 3rd in 1939 and then second in 1947. The club had a come back in the first division in 1967–68. In 1981 Olympic was relegated to the third division, in 2007, Olympic Charleroi won promotion by winning Belgian Third Division B. As of 2010, they play in Belgian Third Division B, updated 28 December 2015 Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
Their football team have been playing in the Belgian Pro League since the 1989–90 season. They won the league once, in 2014–15, in addition to three Belgian Cup victories. Ghent played their matches in the Jules Ottenstadion in Gentbrugge from 1920 until 2013. Their team colours are blue and white, the principal sponsor is the financial institution VDK NV. The field hockey and track and field divisions were founded in 1864, the club was then known under its French name La Gantoise. They changed their name to the current Dutch version in 1971, the football division opened in 1900. The nickname of the club is De Buffalos, a term coined after a visit of the original Buffalo Bill, Ghent enjoyed a first spell at the highest level in Belgian football between 1913–14 and 1928–29, and a second one from 1936–37 to 1966–67. In the 1970s and 1980s, the club had several promotions and relegations between the first and second divisions, to back at the highest level in 1989. The club reached the 1991–92 UEFA Cup quarter-finals, which is their best achievement ever in European competitions, in 1864, an association called the Société Gymnastique la Gantoise, which was tasked with promoting gymnastics, was founded. Some branches quickly became independent and in 1891 the team merged with the Association Athlétique, in this context, the athletics team KAA Gent was founded. In the last decade of the 19th century, organized football was introduced in Ghent, different small teams were founded and some merged into Racing Club Gantois on 1 April 1899, which would later become the biggest challenger of KAA Gent. Only in 1900, a section was founded by the students of the College of Melle. The first president of the team was doctor Hector Priem, the games were played on the Carpentierplein, which was situated at the crossroads of the Kortrijksesteenweg, the Clementinalaan, the Oostendestraat and the Astridlaan. Initially, the black and white were chosen, but by 31 October 1900, when the team became an official member. On 15 November 1900, the first regular game was played, in January 1901, the team played against Racing Club Gantois, which was, at that time, the larger of the two. KAA Gent lost the game with 10–0, in 1901 AA La Gantoise played its first games in the lower divisions. For the first few years, the team played in the Belgian Second Division. In 1904 the team moved to the Mussenstraat, in 1913, the World Exposition was held at that place, and the team moved once more, this time to the Albertlaan
Koninklijke Lierse Sportkring, often simply known as Lierse, is a Belgian professional football club from the city of Lier in the Antwerp province. Lierse have won four titles and two Belgian Cups. Lierse is one of the six Belgian clubs to have played in the UEFA Champions League group stage, the club was founded in 1906 and they first promoted to the first division in 1927–28. Lierse was successful in the first division until the end of World War II, at the end of the 1947–48 season, they were relegated to the second division. Lierse enjoyed two spells at the highest level, each time with a championship win. Lierse spent five years in first division between 2010–11 and 2014–15, but currently play in the second division. Lierse play their matches at the Herman Vanderpoortenstadion in Lier. They have yellow and black colours, the club has recently been bought by Egyptian businessman Maged Samy, who also owns KV Turnhout and Wadi Degla in Egypt. The most capped player at the club is Bernard Voorhoof with 61 caps for Belgium, with 30 goals, he is the topscorer of the Belgium national football team together with Paul Van Himst. In 1904, Gustaaf Van Den Roye learned about the game of football in Antwerp and he bought an authentic ball to play the game in his hometown of Lier. The first games were played on a terrain owned by the local graf Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde, local farmers were not pleased and the police had to intervene, who prohibited any further games. The graf was informed of what happened and he asked Van Den Roye to come, on March 6,1906, during a meeting in a local pub called De Roskam a football club was founded, named Liersche Sportkring. Lierse was born and a first board was established, Gerard Quaeyhaegens as chairman, Gust van den Roye as secretary, graf Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde agreed to become honorary chairman. Two years after its foundation, in September 1908, Lierse became a member of the Royal Belgian Football Association, where it started playing in the lowest tier of Belgian Football. In 1913 the club made its first impact in Belgian football, the club climbed through the ranks of Belgian football. In 1922, after winning a national play-off round Lierse gained promotion to the levels of Belgian Football. Five years after reaching the levels, in 1927, Lierse became champions in division 1 the second tier of Belgian football. In doing so, Lierse succeeded promotion to the highest level for the first time in its history and this first spell in the top tier proved to be very successful immediately as Lierse became champions for the first time in 1932
Yellow Red Koninklijke Voetbalclub Mechelen, is a Belgian professional football club based in Mechelen in the Antwerp province. KV Mechelen plays in the Belgian Pro League and they have won four Belgian championships and one Belgian Cup, as well as the 1987–88 European Cup Winners Cup and the 1988 European Super Cup. They collected all of their honours in the 1940s and in the 1980s, KV Mechelen was founded in 1904 and, in 1921–22, promoted to the first division. After two successive relegation and promotion, they were back for good between 1928–29 and 1955–56, in the 1960s and 1970s, the club had several promotions and relegations between the first and second division. From 1983–84 to 1996–97, they had a successful first division spell, with a title and several 2nd, during that period, they also won a European Cup Winners Cup and they reached the same competition semi-finals as well as the European Cup quarter-finals. KV Mechelen declined in the late 1990s though they had two spells at the highest level from 1999–00 to 2000–01 and in 2002–03. At the end of season, the club did not receive their Belgian professional football license. They were thus relegated to the division with a 9-point penalty. After two promotions in 2004–05 and in 2006–07, KV Mechelen has come back to the first division, the club outfits are a striped yellow and red shirt with black shorts and socks. They play their matches at the Argosstadion Achter de Kazerne. The stadium has been named so because there used to be next to stadium. KV Mechelen fans have a rivalry with KRC Mechelen. The club was founded in 1904, a few months after the birth of city rival KRC Mechelen, the club had a first successful period in the 1940s. During World War II, in 1943, the club won their first domestic title, the second title came a few years later, in 1946, and in 1948 the club was successful again. After that, the club fell back, in 1954, they managed to finish third, only one point behind champions Anderlecht, but that was their last good season. Two years later, Mechelen was relegated to second division, during the 1960s and the 1970s, Mechelen went up and down between the first and second division. The club enjoyed a spell of both domestic and European success in the period of 1987–92, during these 5 seasons, Mechelen won one Belgian championship and one Belgian cup title. They also finished 2nd in the Belgian league twice and lost the Belgian cup final twice, after winning the domestic cup title in 1987, and hence qualifying for the European Cup Winners Cup, they completed the extraordinary achievement of winning this tournament in 1988