Division 1A

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Division 1A
Division 1A sponsor logoTemplate: Infobox football competition / maintenance / logo format
Full name Jupiler Pro League (1A)
Association Royal Belgian Football Association
First edition 1895
hierarchy 1st League
Teams 18th
master Club Bruges (16)
Record champions RSC Anderlecht (34)
Current season 2020/21
Website proleague.be/fr/jpl
Qualification for Champions League
Europa League

The 1A Division , due to a sponsorship since 2016 officially Jupiler Pro League (1A) , is the top division in Belgian football . The first league championship was held for the first time in 1895/96, making the first Belgian league one of the oldest football leagues in the world. The Anheuser-Busch InBev brewery with its Jupiler brand gave the league its name. In the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium it is usually still referred to as Eerste class .


Up to and including the 2008/09 season

The Belgian Football Association hosted its first official competition ( Coupe de Championnat ) in 1895/96. The seven participating teams were Royal Antwerp , Club Bruges , FC Lüttich and from Brussels Racing Club de Bruxelles , Léopold Club de Bruxelles , Sporting Club de Bruxelles and Union d'Ixelles. The Liège FC became the first champions and the bottom two, Bruges and Union d'Ixelles, were replaced by the Athletic Club de Bruxelles. Liège and the Racing Club dominated the first championships. The first top scorer of the league in the years 1896-1902 were the Englishmen Samuel C. Hickson, Charles Grimshaw Atkinson, Herbert Pott and the Austrian Franz König.

From 1898 to 1904 the league was two-pronged. The teams first played in regional preliminary rounds to finally decide the title in a final round. One division consisted of five teams from Antwerp , Brabant , Liège and Limburg ; the other from West and East Flanders . This included a second league, the winners of which played off a promoted team. In the meantime there was again a national first division in 1900/01, in which nine clubs played against each other. The nationwide, single-track football league, now called the Honor Department (French Division d'Honneur , or nl. Eerste Afdeeling ) was finally introduced in 1904. Twelve clubs have taken part since 1908, and it was later increased to 16 teams.

After the turn of the century, Union Saint-Gilloise became the dominant team, winning six titles in a decade. In addition, RC de Bruxelles and the new Beerschot team were AC champions, and later FC Bruges prevailed as the top club. The mode was changed several times, it was either played in a one or two-tier league. In 1926 the League was called Division d'Honneur. The 1920s were dominated by teams from Antwerp: Beerschot AC won five, Royal Antwerp two and Lierse SK won one.

In the First and at times in the Second World War , the championship was not played. From 1952/53, the Belgian soccer league had roughly the same structure as it had until 2009. The number of participating teams varied occasionally, but had recently leveled off at 18 teams. Professional football was introduced in the late 1960s.

After World War II, RSC Anderlecht won its first title in 1947 , and Standard Liège was successful for the first time in the late 1950s . From 1960 to 1972, these two teams made the title among themselves. The dominance was so great that in an international match against the Netherlands in 1964, after the goalkeeper was replaced, eleven RSC Anderlecht players were on the field.

Since the so-called Bosman ruling , the number of foreign players in the teams of the First Division has hardly been limited. As a result, the Belgian clubs signed numerous footballers from Eastern Europe, Africa and South America, as is the case in other countries. This gave the Belgian league the function of a showcase for the big clubs in Europe. Many well-known footballers started their international careers in Belgium. B. Jean-Pierre Papin (Club Brugge), Sunday Oliseh , Victor Ikpeba (FC Lüttich), Jan Koller (RSC Anderlecht) and many others. The Belgian league plays a special role for African players who play in large numbers, e.g. T. dubious agents are brought to Europe.

The three-point rule has been in force since 1995/96. The clubs have only had to meet the association's license requirements since the 2001/02 season. In the very first season, Eendracht Aalst and RWD Molenbeek were revoked.

The first division consisted of 18 teams until the 2009/10 season. The bottom of the table was relegated directly, the penultimate played the last free place in Division 1A with three teams from the second division. In the UEFA five-year ranking, Belgian club football was 13th before the league reform (as of five-year ranking 2008 ). The national champion was thus eligible to start in the Champions League , the second had to go to the third qualifying round. The third and the cup winners started in the third qualifying round of the new Europa League (previously UEFA Cup ), the fourth in the second qualifying round. The champions and the cup winners also play for the Supercup. The former 34 game days of a season were played between August and May of the following year.

In the 2010/11 season , KAS Eupen was the first club from the German-speaking Community of Belgium to play in the 1st division.

The Belgian record champions are RSC Anderlecht with 34 titles ahead of Club Bruges (15 titles), Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (11), Standard Liège (10), Beerschot VAC (7) and Racing de Bruxelles (6).

From the 2009/10 season

For the new 2009/10 season, the format of the 1st division was drastically changed. The league was reduced from 18 to 16 teams and play-offs were introduced after the regular season. The new format is intended to be more attractive for viewers and to make the larger clubs more competitive on a European level. Therefore it was criticized by many, especially by smaller clubs.

At the end of the regular season, the clubs in places 1 to 6 play in a play-off for the championship in which they start with half of the points achieved in the regular season. The clubs in ranks 7 to 14 win in play-offs which team plays against the fourth in the championship play-off for the last European cup place. The clubs in places 15 and 16 initially played against each other in five play-off games, with the fifteenth place being three points ahead. The loser goes directly to the 2nd division (since 2016 Division 1B ). The winner now competes in a relegation against the second, third and fourth in the second division, in which another place in the first division is played out.

Many already criticize this format and point out that this system has already failed in the Dutch Eredivisie .

From the 2019/20 season, the mode was changed by a resolution of the general assembly of the Pro League clubs (all clubs in Division 1A and Division 1B ) on June 7, 2019.

The 16 clubs initially play the regular season in a double round. The final table serves as the basis for qualifying for various placement rounds.

The six best-placed clubs after 30 match days reach the championship round (play-offs 1). The bottom of the table is relegated directly; For him, the winner of the promotion play-offs of Division 1B plays first class in the coming season.

What has changed compared to the previous year is that the clubs in positions 7 to 16 of the first division (including the relegated) together with the clubs in positions 1 to 6 of division 1B (including the promoted) in four groups of four clubs each play against each other in a double round. The winners of the four groups will determine the participants in the play-off 2 final in two semi-finals. The semi-finals and finals are played with a home and away leg.

The winner of this Play-off 2 final continues unchanged in another play-off against the fourth or fifth place in Play-off 1 for the last international starting place.

With the exception of the two game days at the end of the regular round and the play-offs as well as the game day at Christmas, there were seven different kick-off times for the eight games of a game day, with two kick-off times per game day allowing the games to overlap. The average attendance in the league is usually just under 10,000.

Below the first four leagues, Belgian football is organized by province. All provinces are represented with teams in the first two leagues, with only one second division from the province of Luxembourg. Overall, there is a clear predominance of the Flemish clubs over the Walloon clubs. One association, the KAS Eupen, comes from the German-speaking area in East Belgium .

In the summer 2015 left Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba RSC Anderlecht and signed in the Premier League with Newcastle United and Mathew Ryan moved from FC Bruges in the Primera División for FC Valencia . This led to the realization that the gap between the financially weak Belgian clubs and the top European leagues is greater than ever. As a result, a countermeasure was decided; Division 1A will continue to have 16 clubs, while the second division will only have eight teams from the 2016/17 season.

Division 1A was the world's first league to propose a season end due to the COVID-19 pandemic . The Board of Directors of the Pro League passed a corresponding resolution on April 2, 2020. The final decision had to be made by all clubs in a general assembly, which was postponed several times. Finally, on May 6, 2020, the National Security Council banned all sporting events until July 31, 2020 (even without spectators). A continuation of the season was no longer possible. At the general assembly of the clubs on May 15, 2020 it was decided that the cancellation table is the basis for all sporting decisions. This made Club Bruges champions, leading the table of the main round at the time of the recommendation by 15 points.

Waasland-Beveren successfully sued against relegation. As a result, on July 31, 2020, the league decided to increase the next two seasons by two teams to 18 clubs. Thus, in the 2020/21 season, Oud-Heverlee Löwen and K Beerschot VA, both participants in the promotion games from Division 1B, will take part in the league operations of Division 1A. After the 2020/21 season, the last one will be relegated and the first of Division 1B will be relegated. The teams in positions 17 of Division 1A and 2 of Division 1B play relegation games for the last free place in Division 1A.

At the same time, a study on the best format in the league from the 2022/23 season is to be commissioned at the end of 2020. As long as no change has been made, three teams would be relegated from Division 1A after the 2021/22 season and only the winner of the promotion games would be promoted from Division 1B, so that from the 2022/23 season 16 teams would play in Division 1A again.

The television rights for Division 1A for the 2020/21 to 2024/25 seasons were awarded to Eleven Sports together with those for Division 1B and the Cup . In coordination with Eleven Sport, the kick-off times were reorganized from the 2020/21 season: The eight games on each matchday are scheduled so that no game overlaps another.

Name history

  • 1895/96 - 1903/04: Championship Cup
  • 1904/05 - 1925/26: 1st Division (French Première Division, Dutch Eerste Afdeling, German First Division)
  • 1926/27 - 1951/52: Division d'Honneur (Dutch Eredivisie)
  • 1952/53 - 2015/16: 1st Division (French Première Division, Dutch Eerste Afdeling, German First Division)
    • 1993/94 - 2007/08: Jupiler League
    • 2008/09 - 2015/16: Jupiler Pro League
  • since 2016/17: Division 1A
    • since 2016/17: Jupiler Pro League (1A)


All masters

* Season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Record champions

rank society title
1. RSC Anderlecht 34
2. Club Bruges 16
3. Royale Union Saint-Gilloise 11
4th Standard Liege 10
5. Beerschot AC 7th
6th Racing Club de Bruxelles 6th
7th Daring Club de Bruxelles 5
RFC Liege 5
9. Royal Antwerp 4th
KV Mechelen 4th
Lierse SK 4th
KRC Genk 4th
13. Cercle Bruges 3
14th KSK Beveren 2
15th RWDM 1
KAA Gent 1
  • 1896: RFC Liège
  • 1897: RFC Liège and Racing Club de Bruxelles
  • 1898–00: RFC Liège (2–3)
  • 1901: RFC Liège and Racing Club de Bruxelles
  • 1902–1906: Racing Club de Bruxelles (4)
  • 1907: Racing Club de Bruxelles and Union St. Gilloise
  • 1908: Racing Club de Bruxelles (5)
  • 1909: Racing Club de Bruxelles and Union St. Gilloise
  • 1910–1964: Union St. Gilloise (6–11)
  • 1965: Union St. Gilloise and RSC Anderlecht
  • 1966–: RSC Anderlecht (12–34)

Top scorer

Four Germans have been Belgian top scorer so far: 1969/70 Lothar Emmerich (K. Beerschot VAV, 29 goals), 1970/71 Erwin Kostedde (Standard Liège, 26 goals), 1977/78 Harald Nickel (Standard Liège, 22 goals) and 1978 / 79 Erwin Albert (KSK Beveren, 28 goals). In the early years of the league, the Swiss Franz König (Royal Racing Club Bruxelles) won the title in 1897/98 and 1898/99. The Austrian Alfred Riedl was twice top scorer in 1972/73 (Sint-Truiden VV, 16 goals) and 1974/75 (Royal Antwerp, 28 goals). Erwin Vandenbergh was six times the most successful shooter between 1979/80 and 1990/91.

The top scorer of the last ten years

season player country society Gates
2009/10 Romelu Lukaku BelgianBelgian RSC Anderlecht 15th
2010/11 Ivan Perišić CroatianCroatian Club Bruges 22nd
2011/12 Jérémy Perbet FrenchmanFrenchman RAEC Mons 25th
2012/13 Carlos Bacca ColombiansColombians Club Bruges 25th
2013/14 Michy Batshuayi BelgianBelgian Standard Liege 22nd
2014/15 Aleksandar Mitrovic SerbSerb RSC Anderlecht 20th
2015/16 Sofiane Hanni AlgerianAlgerian KV Mechelen 14th
Jérémy Perbet FrenchmanFrenchman Sporting Charleroi
2016/17 Henry Onyekuru NigeriansNigerians KAS Eupen 22nd
Łukasz Teodorczyk PolePole RSC Anderlecht
2017/18 Hamdi Harbaoui TunisiansTunisians SV Zulte Waregem 22nd
2018/19 Hamdi Harbaoui TunisiansTunisians SV Zulte Waregem 25th
2019/20 Dieumerci Mbokani CongoleseCongolese Royal Antwerp 18 *
* Season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

UEFA five-year ranking

Placement in the UEFA five-year ranking ( previous year's ranking in brackets ). The abbreviations CL and EL after the country coefficients indicate the number of representatives in the 2019/20 season of the Champions League and the Europa League .

  • 06. ± 0( 6 ) Russia ( league , cup ) - coefficient: 50,549 - CL: 3, EL: 30RussiaRussia 
  • 07. ± 0( 7 ) Portugal ( league , cup ) - coefficient: 48.232 - CL: 2, EL: 30PortugalPortugal 
  • 08. +1( 9 ) Belgium ( league , cup ) - coefficient: 39,900 - CL: 2, EL: 30BelgiumBelgium 
  • 09. −1( 8 ) Ukraine ( league , cup ) - coefficient: 38,900 - CL: 2, EL: 30UkraineUkraine 
  • 10. ± 0( 10 ) Turkey ( league , cup ) - coefficient: 34,600 - CL: 2, EL: 3TurkeyTurkey 

Status: end of the European Cup season 2018/19

Audience statistics

Development of audience numbers in the regular season (excluding playoffs) since 2000.

season cut Games total
2000/01 9,856 306 3,015,908
2001/02 9,338 306 2,857,388
2002/03 10,377 272 2,822,616
2003/04 10,062 306 3,078,891
2004/05 9,719 306 2,974,132
2005/06 10,322 306 3,158,492
2006/07 10,718 306 3,279,617
2007/08 11,374 305 3,469,054
2008/09 11,029 306 3,374,909
2009/10 11,872 240 2,706,807
2010/11 11,676 240 2,802,160
2011/12 11,731 240 2,815,321
2012/13 11,164 240 2,679,335
2013/14 11,781 240 2,827,373
2014/15 11,677 240 2,802,516
2015/16 11,959 240 2,870,253
2016/17 11,157 240 2,677,582
2017/18 11,915 240 2,859,483

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Nieuwsblad , Voetbal Belgie or De Morgen
  2. Algemene Vergadering Pro League: wijziging van competitieformat naar POII van 4x4 ploegen. In: sport.be. Jupiler League, June 7, 2019, accessed June 8, 2019 (Dutch).
  3. Modification of the format de la compétition: of the play-offs 2 avec 4 groupes de 4 clubs. In: Proximus-Sport.be. June 8, 2019, accessed June 12, 2019 (French).
  4. Boris Cremer: The gradient is greater than ever . In: Kicker (sports magazine) . No. 61 , 2015, p. 27 .
  5. 1st Division: Pro League Board of Directors recommends the end of the season. Belgian Broadcasting, April 2, 2020, accessed April 2, 2020 .
  6. Green light for the next phase of relaxation - visits to small groups at home are permitted from Sunday. Belgian Broadcasting, May 6, 2020, accessed May 16, 2020 .
  7. Communication à la suite de l'Assemblée Générale. In: sport.be. Jupiler League, May 15, 2020, accessed on May 16, 2020 (French).
  8. Waasland lawsuit successful - Belgium starts with 18 clubs. July 31, 2020, accessed July 31, 2020 .
  9. ^ Communication après l'Assemblée Générale de la Pro League. Pro League, July 31, 2020, accessed August 2, 2020 (French).
  10. ^ Bruno Verscheure: Attribution définitive et collective des droits médias 2020-2025 de la Pro League à Eleven Sports. In: sport.be. Pro League, March 18, 2020, accessed April 3, 2020 (French).
  11. Voici les nouveaux horaires the matchs en Pro League. RTBF, July 7, 2020, accessed on July 7, 2020 (French).
  12. Geschiedenis naamgeving competitie eerste klasse. In: proleague.be. Retrieved June 7, 2018 (Dutch).
  13. Histoire de la denomination du championnat de D1. Pro League, accessed November 20, 2019 (French).
  14. UEFA rankings for club competitions. In: UEFA. Retrieved July 14, 2019 .
  15. First class A 2018/2019 - spectators. Retrieved January 17, 2019 .