KV Mechelen can still remain in the highest classJuly 11, 2019
Coup de théâtre in Belgian top football. The relegation from KV Mechelen to 1B is reduced. Waasland-Beveren may also take part in the highest class.
KV Mechelen can enter the 2019-2020 season in 1A, the highest football class. The Belgian Arbitration Court for Sport (BAS) announced this to the club on Wednesday. Waasland-Beveren also does not have to relegate.
Both teams looked at an obligatory relegation to 1B by alleged match fixing of their mutual match on 11 March 2018, but the BAS acquitted the clubs on appeal.
At first instance, Waasland-Beveren was acquitted, but KV Mechelen was punished by the Higher Appeal Disputes Committee of the Belgian Football Association. At the beginning of June, the relegation to 1B was pronounced, as was a ban on participation in European competitions and the Belgian Cup.
Malinwa appealed to the BAS and therefore obtained his gram. "The BAS made an interim decision to provide clarity before the start of the competition. It is of the opinion that relegation is not a possible sanction and so KV Mechelen is allowed to start in 1A after the deserved sporting promotion, 'explains KV Mechelen on its website.
"The BAS did not yet make a statement about a full acquittal or other possible sanctions, "says the club. 'Whether KV Mechelen will be able to get started in Europe is not yet clear. The BAS has not yet decided on this. One thing is certain: on July 27, KV Mechelen will play its first match of the competition in 1A on the Zulte-Waregem pitch. "
Beerschot and Lokeren
Beerschot-Wilrijk and Lokeren would initially take the place of Mechelen and Waasland-Beveren. They are now coming out in 1B.
Beerschot-Wilrijk, which was to be promoted in the event of a degradation of KV Mechelen, had already made extensive preparations for a stay in the highest class. Sporting Lokeren, which relegated from 1A last season but could be fished, says the club had already set itself to 1B.
It will look out how hard Beerschot and Lokeren will play on a legal level. In the first step, both clubs will declare the Football Association to be in default. Lokeren also lodges a complaint with the European football association UEFA and will possibly claim millions of euros in compensation for final relegation.
Beerschot pleaded on a hastily convened press conference on Wednesday evening to postpone the start of the competition and still wants to be admitted to 1A.
However, the Pro League, the association of professional clubs, stated a few hours earlier that the Belgian calendar is now final.
AA Ghent and Antwerp
There is still uncertainty about European tickets. If KV Mechelen is admitted to the Europa League as cup winner, it will have consequences for Standard Liège, Antwerp and AA Ghent.
Standard and Antwerp then have to play one qualifying round for the Europa League earlier than expected. AA Gent would fall completely out of the boat and not play European football.
The BAS made its decision based on a procedural error. The action of the football association against KV Mechelen and Waasland-Beveren came too late. According to the regulations, the federal action must be instituted 'before 15 June of the season concerned'.
"So before 15 June 2018, since the alleged match fixing took place on 11 March 2018," argued KV Mechelen. The BAS follows that reasoning.
The Disputes Committee for the Higher Appeal of the Football Association, on the other hand, was of the opinion that 'the season in question' meant the season in which the facts came to light. A false interpretation, says the BAS.
'If that is the case, the federal regulations are hopelessly outdated. That way it becomes easy to cheat and get away with it with impunity, "reacted Sporting Lokeren.
This is unworthy of a football country like Belgium
Beerschot lawyer Walter Damen: 'In our opinion, this has nothing to do with the spirit of the regulations. This way, every team can try to arrange matches at the end of the season. This is unworthy of a football country like Belgium. "
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