Sporting Lokeren goes bust

The East Flemish football club Sporting Lokeren has announced that it will not fight a ruling made by the Commercial Court in Dendermonde declaring the club bankrupt. The club that until the end of the 2018-2019 season was in the Belgian First Division was unable to find the investors it needed to prevent it from going under. The club was set up in 1970 after the merger of Royal Racing Club Lokeren and Standaard Lokeren. 

Starting out in the Fourth Division the club was promoted three times in four season, playing in the First Division for the first time in the 1974-1975 season. The club remained in the top flight for 19 seasons before being relegated in 1993. Sporting Lokeren regain First Division status in 1996 and remained in the First Division until the end of the 2018-2019 season. Now just 11 months later the club has gone to the wall.

In Europe, Sporting Lokeren competed in the UEFA Cup during six seasons, the Europa League in two seasons and the Intertoto Cup during four seasons of its 50 year existence. Sporting Lokeren won the Belgian Cup in 2012 and 2014. 

Hope for the club’s youth teams?

Meanwhile, the club’s youth academy is in talks about a possible merger with Vigor Wuitens Hamme. The new club would play under Vigor Wuitens Hamme’s licence number (Belgium football clubs each have a licence number allowing them to compete in the Belgian national and provincial leagues). Hamme was relegated from the 2nd amateur league at the (impromptu) end of the season and will play in the 3rd amateur league (5th division) next season.

However, not everyone at Vigor Wuitens Hamme is reported to be enthusiastic about a merger. Another option would be a completed fresh start in the Fourth Division of the East Flemish provincial league.