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
SC Eendracht Aalst
SC Eendracht Aalst is a Belgian football club based in Aalst, East Flanders. During World War I, citizens from Aalst played football matches to raise money for prisoners of war, in 1919 Sport-Club Eendracht Aalst became an official football team. After some friendly games in 1923, SC Eendracht Aalst joined the regional competition and they quickly moved their way up through the regional divisions and after moving the stadion to the current location in 1928, the team made it into the national competition in 1932. Only seven years later, in 1939, Aalst already promoted to the Eredivision, due to the second World War competition was not played for two years, so it wasnt until 1942 Aalst finished its first season in the Eredivision. In 1946 the chairman died and it was decided to rename the stadion to honour him and that year was the beginning of a very dark period for Eendracht Aalst. Due to changes in the competition-format, they were forced to relegate, after this they played in the lower division for more than 30 years. In 1960 they managed to get back into the Eredivision, but in 1962 they ended last, in 1965, after a bribing-affaire, Aalst was even sent to the lowest national division. In 1977 they made it back into the division, with Paul Van Himst in the team. In 1994 the team joined the first division again. Jan Ceulemans, Godwin Okpara and Gilles De Bilde were some of the most important factors towards success, in 1995 a new climax was reached when they were allowed to enter the European competition and even survived the first round against Levski Sofia. It changed its name in 2002 after former Belgian First Division club K. S. C, Eendracht Aalst had gone into liquidation. So they could not get the license and the new team began at the division level. They played the two seasons in second division and are now back to the third division and they are at the 3rd place. While the 2004–05 championship was over, the club needed to know if first division side F. C. Brussels, virton were to receive the professional football license to know where they would play next season. Indeed, while 17th K. Patro Maasmechelen had no license, finally, both clubs did receive it so the team was relegated. In 2011, the name of the team got changed back to S. C, theyve also requested to change the name back to the former K. S. C. Eendracht Aalst, which will be possible in 2012, if they receive good advice from the Royal Belgian Football Association, the Pierre Cornelisstadion is located in Bredestraat, Aalst, near the city center. The Stadium has 3500 seats and 4000 standing places and it was built in the early 1930s
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
Koninklijke Sportkring Beveren is a Belgian association football club from the town of Beveren in East Flanders. The clubs first team quit in June 2010 to merge with KV Red Star Waasland, however, the ladies team still exists and currently plays in the Second Division. In 1921, a club named Standaard Club Beveren was founded in 1921 and it merged later with FC Amical, three years later, the footballers of Standaard Club decided to found a new club, which they named SK Beveren-Waes. It became a member of the Belgian Football Association in 1935, ten seasons after, the club changed its name to SK Beveren-Waas. After 14 seasons in the Belgian Provincial leagues, Beveren-Waas reached the national level in 1948. In 1966, they reached the division for the first time. Since then, it has relegated from the top division three times, but on each occasion was re-promoted at the first attempt. The club changed its name again, to KSK Beveren, in 1978, in 1979, they beat Internazionale in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, eventually being eliminated by Barcelona in the semi-finals with two 1–0 defeats. During this campaign, KSK Beveren had many players with only semi-professional status, TV reporters took pleasure to call those players by their jobs, the Fireman, the Docker, the Policeman and the Employee etc. In 2006, they were threatened with the loss of their licence and subsequent relegation to the third division. In 2007, however, the club ended last in the Jupiler League and was forced to go to the second division, between 2001 and 2006, the club had a co-operation agreement with English Premier League club Arsenal. Several players were loaned between the teams and friendlies played, the agreement expired on 1 July 2006. Subsequent to an investigation by BBC Televisions Newsnight, FIFA requested the English Football Association investigate the relationship between the two clubs. In 2001, Belgian police concluded that a loan of over €1.5 million had been made by Arsenal to the company Goal, Newsnight have alleged this may breach club ownership rules under FIFA regulations. The accusation is refuted by Arsenal, who state that the payment was an interest free loan and has no effect on the administration of the club, the FA and FIFA cleared both clubs of any wrongdoing. Several players have been loaned between the two clubs or had trials, only Emmanuel Eboué and Igors Stepanovs, however, completed permanent moves to the clubs in this time period, the former to Arsenal and the latter to Beveren. As of 5 March 2006, Official website UEFA page
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
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
Sint-Truiden plays in the Belgian Pro League. Their best ranking was a place in 1965–66. They also reached the final of the Belgian Cup twice, the club was founded in 1924. The club colours are yellow and blue, hence their nickname De Kanaries and they play their home games at the Stayen since 1927. The club was created in 1924 following the merger between FC Union and FC Goldstar, two clubs from Sint-Truiden, the colors of the club were chosen to be yellow and blue, to match the colors of the city, and it was named Sint-Truidense Voetbal Vereeniging. The first game of the team, against Cercle Tongeren, was played in front of only 9 attendees, in the late 1930s, Léopold Appeltans was the leading player of Sint-Truidense. On November 21,1948, he became the first capped player for Belgium while playing at this club, in the late 1940s it qualified for the second division. It also changed its name to Sint-Truidense Voetbalvereniging in 1947, five years later it finished second in the second division and thus promoted to the first division. Successful manager Raymond Goethals arrived at Sint-Truiden in 1959, under his management, the team finished second of the top division in 1966. The former Sint-Truidense goalkeeper Jacky Mathijssen became the manager of the club in 2001 and he was replaced by Marc Wilmots, who was fired shortly after. The team finished the season under the coaching of the trio Guy Mangelschots, Eddy Raymaekers and Peter Voets. At the end of the 2004–05 season the board of directors hired Oostende manager Herman Vermeulen, in 2008 the womens team of FCL Rapide Wezemaal joined STVV. 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