For the second year in a row, the top Belgian clubs have performed well below normal in European competitions. Royal Antwerp FC, KRC Genk and Club Brugge have already been completed before the new year, with RSC Anderlecht not even surviving the preliminary rounds of the Conference League. Only KAA Gent has kept the honor a bit high, albeit in at least all three tournaments. Wim de Koninck is looking for explanations and solutions.
Last season, our country scored only 6000 points in the UEFA list, and this year there are 6600 (at the moment). Even if Ghent manages to move forward, the outcome is still meager. In recent years, countries like Austria or Scotland have overtaken us. how is that possible? De Coninck sees two important explanations: competition coordination and infrastructure.
First, the analyst looks at the Jupiler Pro League format, which is very different from the format in Austria or Scotland. “The surprising thing there is that the competition is played with much fewer teams. Thus these teams can start much better, which we cannot manage,” his analysis said. As a result, Belgian clubs always have to walk on their toes and they lack that little bit of quality to get into Europe.
Playoffs on the bulldozer?
Twelve teams compete at the highest level in both the Austrian League and the Scottish Premier League. As a result of having a more limited upper class, of course, there are fewer matches in the program. De Koninck sums up: “In countries with a higher coefficient, we see that there is room to move in the calendar. We don’t have that in Belgium.”
Moreover, the qualifying system, which has been in vogue in our country for more than ten years, must also be criticized. “The intent to close the gap to the European summit with more big games in the playoff has completely failed,” stinging de Koninck.
Places of residence
In addition to the form of competition, changes must also be made in the infrastructure. “Klopp (Bruges, editor) was the frontrunner to start the road, but they should have had a new stadium a long time ago,” de Koninck chooses a concrete example. Very rapid progress must be made in this area.
Finally, with RSC Anderlecht and Standard Liège, two big traditional teams lost, certainly on the European stage. That is why our country is losing its feathers beyond its national borders. In short: De Coninck has a bleak outlook on the immediate future of football for Belgian clubs. Compete after winter? It will be a utopia for the Belgian teams.”
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