Chaos reigns in Belgian football after new ruling

The new football season in the top flight is due to kick off in two weeks' time, but it is not sure whether this date can be met. This is because of a judicial fight involving the possible relegation of top-flight club KV Mechelen. In the latest episode, Beerschot-Wilrijk won a court case about the start of the Belgian competition. 

KV Mechelen promoted to the top flight last season at the expense of Beerschot-Wilrijk, and managed to stay there after a good season. However, they were relegated in a punishment by the Belgian Football Association after charges of matchfixing. 

KV Mechelen decided to appeal against the ruling, and the Belgian Arbitration Court for Sports (BAS) said they could not be relegated due to technicalities linked to the FA's internal rules. However, the BAS did not make a ruling on the case itself: are KV Mechelen guilty of matchfixing or not? 

Beerschot-Wilrijk took the case to court, arguing they want the BAS to make a ruling on the case itself first. This should happen before the start of the league at the end of July. Without a decision, the league cannot start. A judge has now followed Beerschot-Wilrijk, which boosted Beerschot's hopes to take KV Mechelen's place among the football elite.

To make things more complicated, the case goes beyond KV Mechelen: Waasland-Beveren were also facing charges of matchfixing, but they were cleared by the Belgian FA. However, relegated Sporting Lokeren are hoping to stay up if Waasland can be convicted after all. 

The European Football Association UEFA is expected to make a decision about KV Mechelen's European ticket (KV Mechelen won the Belgian Cup at the expense of KAA Gent and qualified for the Europa League group phase) soon, as a final decision on the Belgian level is not coming.