Fixtures

DateRHome vs Away-
01/19 19:45 24 Genk vs KV Mechelen View
01/21 19:45 23 KV Oostende vs Antwerp View
01/22 15:15 23 KV Kortrijk vs Eupen View
01/22 17:30 23 KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk vs OH Leuven View
01/22 17:30 23 Sint-Truidense vs Seraing United View
01/22 19:45 23 Charleroi vs Gent View
01/23 12:30 23 Standard Liege vs Club Brugge View
01/23 15:00 23 Union Saint Gilloise vs Genk View
01/23 17:30 23 KV Mechelen vs Anderlecht View
01/23 20:00 23 Cercle Brugge vs Zulte-Waregem View
01/25 17:45 24 Antwerp vs Sint-Truidense View
01/25 20:00 24 Gent vs KV Oostende View

Results

Date R Home vs Away -
01/16 20:00 22 [9] Genk vs KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk [18] 4-1
01/16 17:30 22 [4] Anderlecht vs Standard Liege [15] 1-1
01/16 15:00 22 [12] Eupen vs Cercle Brugge [11] 0-2
01/16 12:30 22 [4] Antwerp vs Charleroi [6] 3-0
01/15 19:45 22 [2] Club Brugge vs Sint-Truidense [13] 2-0
01/15 17:30 22 Zulte-Waregem vs KV Oostende PPT.
01/15 17:30 22 [17] Seraing United vs Union Saint Gilloise [1] Abandoned
01/15 15:15 22 [10] OH Leuven vs KV Mechelen [7] PPT.
01/14 19:45 22 [6] Gent vs KV Kortrijk [8] 2-2
12/27 20:00 21 [16] Sint-Truidense vs Eupen [11] 2-0
12/27 20:00 21 [18] KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk vs Anderlecht [5] 0-7
12/27 17:45 21 [4] Charleroi vs OH Leuven [15] 0-3

The Belgian First Division A, Belgian Pro League or 1A Pro League (officially Jupiler Pro League (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʒypilɛr ˈproː ˈlik]) due to sponsorship reasons with AB InBev‘s brewer Jupiler) since the 2015–16 season, is the top league competition for association football clubs in Belgium. Contested by 18 clubs since 2020–21 season, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Belgian First Division B. Seasons run from early August to late April, with teams playing 34 matches each in the regular season, and then entering play-offs I or play-offs II according to their position in the regular season. Play-offs I (also known as the title playoffs or Champions' play-offs) are contested by the top-four clubs in the regular season, with each club playing each other twice. Play-offs II (also known as the Europa League playoff or Europe play-offs) are contested by teams ranked 5 to 8 in the regular season, divided in four groups of four teams playing each other once. The team finishing in 18th place is relegated directly. However, the 17th place will battle for promotion-relegation play-off against 2nd place of Belgian First Division B.

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, 16 have been crowned champions of Belgium. RSC Anderlecht is the most successful league club with 34 titles, followed by Club Brugge KV (17), Union Saint-Gilloise (11) and Standard Liège (10). It is currently ranked 8th 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 next year in 1980, which is the best ranking the Belgian First Division has ever achieved.

History

Origins (1895–1914)

The first league in Belgian football was held in 1895–96 as a round-robin tournament with seven teams: Antwerp FC, FC Brugeois, FC Liégeois, RC de Bruxelles, Léopold Club de Bruxelles, SC de Bruxelles, and Union d'Ixelles. FC Liégeois became the first champion of Belgium. The first eight 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 finishers (FC Brugeois and Union d'Ixelles) withdrew and a new club entered the competition (Athletic and Running Club de Bruxelles). During the 1896–97 season, SC de Bruxelles withdrew, so the 1897–98 season was played by five clubs. In the seasons 1898–99 and 1899–1900, the football association introduced a new format with two leagues at the top level and a final game in two legs. The format changed back to one league with nine clubs in 1900–01, then again to two leagues from 1901–02 to 1903–04, this time with a final round among the top two teams of each league. In 1904–05, the championship was organised with one league of 11 teams. Athletic and Running Club de Bruxelles withdrew during the season and, from the 1906 season on, a system of promotion and relegation was introduced with the winner of the second division replacing the last-placed team of the first division.[]

In 1906–07, Union Saint-Gilloise won their fourth consecutive title as RC de Bruxelles had from 1899–1900 to 1902–03. Both clubs claimed the next three titles before CS Brugeois won their first title, finishing one point ahead their rival of FC Brugeois. At the end of the 1907–08 season, the number of teams in the first division was increased from 10 to 12 clubs, with Promotion champion RC de Gand and runner-up ESC Forest being promoted while no first division was relegated. As World War I approached, Daring Club de Bruxelles confirmed its status of challenger, even winning the title in 1911–12 and 1913–14. 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.[]

After World War I (1919–1945)

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 and one lost test-match. At the end of the 1920–21 season, the number of teams was increased from 12 to 14, with only Uccle Sport, the last-placed team of the first division, being relegated, and the first 3 teams from the Promotion being promoted (Standard Club Liégeois, FC Malinois, and RSC Anderlechtois). From 1921–22 to 1931–32, the decade was dominated by teams from the province of Antwerp: Beerschot AC, with Raymond Braine, won their first five titles, Antwerp FC their first two and the small club of Liersche SK (led by striker Bernard Voorhoof) won their first one in 1931–32. The challengers at the time were CS Brugeois (two titles in that period), Union Saint-Gilloise (one title), 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 (spanning 3 seasons), winning the 1932–33, 1933–34, and 1934–35 titles. The rival of Union during this period was Daring Club de Bruxelles. They claimed the next two championships. Following the come-back of player Raymond Braine to Beerschot, the Antwerp club won the last two titles before World War II.[]

On 10 May 1940 German troops invaded Belgium and the seasons 1939–40 and 1940–41 were suspended. The competition resumed in September 1941 and Liersche SK won their second title. At the end of the season, no club was relegated and the number of clubs was increased from 14 to 16. The next season, Liersche SK lost three key players (two of them in a bomb attack and the other one due to a heavy injury sustained on the pitch) and they ended at 3rd place while the neighbours of KV Mechelen became champion for the first time in their history. In 1943–44, Antwerp FC won the title. The league was suspended again in 1944–45 because of World War II.[]

After World War II (1945–1980)

The league resumed play in 1945–46 with a title for KV Mechelen. At the start of that season, the First Division went from 16 to 19 clubs, with 3 clubs promoted from the First Division and no team being relegated. The top scorer award was also introduced that season, won by Bert De Cleyn from KV Mechelen. Two seasons later, 5 clubs were relegated and two promoted. In 1946–47, RSC Anderlechtois won their first championship with Jef Mermans as the key striker and they dominated the Belgian football over the next 9 years with 6 more titles, with KV Mechelen (in 1947–48) and FC Liégeois (in 1951–52 and 1952–53) claiming the remaining titles. The Belgian Golden Shoe award was introduced in 1954, rewarding the best player in the first division for the past calendar year, thus over two half seasons.[]

In the late 1950s Standard lifted the trophy for the first time in 1957–58 and they eventually became one of Anderlecht's biggest rivals in the league (until their 8th title in 1982–83). The other titles in the late 1950s were won by Antwerp FC and Anderlecht. In the 1960s, the Anderlecht team of Paul Van Himst claimed six titles (with the Belgian record of five consecutives titles between 1963–64 and 1967–68), while Standard claimed three and Lierse one. Standard, with key player Wilfried Van Moer, won the first two titles of the 1970s, which gave them their only treble so far (together with the 1968–69 title). 1974–75 was the only season with as many as 20 clubs in the league's history. Belgian clubs started to perform well in European Cups in the 1970s, with Anderlecht winning the 1975-76 European Cup Winners' Cup and Club Brugge losing to Liverpool F.C. in the 1975-76 UEFA Cup final. The following season, Anderlecht lost to Hamburger SV in the Cup Winners' Cup final and in 1977–78 won for the second time, while Club Brugge lost the European Cup to Liverpool F.C.. In the Belgian First Division, Club Brugge claimed four titles in the decade, while Anderlecht claimed two and R White Daring Molenbeek (the successor of Daring Club de Bruxelles) with Johan Boskamp and KSK Beveren with goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff each claimed their first Belgian championship.[]

Recent years (1980–present)

In the 1980s, the European successes continued for Belgian clubs with Standard reaching the 1981-82 European Cup Winners' Cup final, Anderlecht winning the 1982-83 UEFA Cup and losing the next UEFA Cup final and KV Mechelen winning the 1987-88 European Cup Winners' Cup. In the domestic league, Anderlecht won their 20th title in 1986–87, which was also the 4th of the decade. Club Brugge and Standard each won 2 titles in the 1980s and KSK Beveren and KV Mechelen one each.[]

In the 1990s, Belgium's teams performances were diminished in European competitions, with only RSC Anderlecht and Royal Antwerp FC reaching the European Cup Winners' Cup final, respectively in 1989–90 and in 1992–93. In the home league, RSC Anderlecht took 4 titles during the decade, while Club Brugge cemented their status as main contender with 4 titles. The remaining two titles went to Lierse SK and newcomer Racing Genk. The 2000s brought a bright European start, with Anderlecht reaching the second group stage in the 2000-01 UEFA Champions League, but the rest of the decade Belgian clubs were again not very successful in European competitions. In the league, RSC Anderlecht won 5 titles in the decade, with Club Brugge claiming two titles and Racing Genk taking their second title. At the end of the decade, Standard Liège returned as a title contender with two consecutive titles, 25 years after their 1982–83 title. At the end of the 2000s, the highest level in Belgian football was reshaped, with a play-off round after the regular season. RSC Anderlecht won the first championship in this new format, which was their 30th title.[] After another two titles for Anderlecht, KAA Gent was the surprise winner of the Championship in 2015.