Belgian Pro League presents tightest schedule ever due to World Cup football in Qatar
Nils Van Brantegem, calendar manager of the Belgian Pro League, described his work as "the most difficult planning of all years so far." Among other things, the World Cup in winter in Qatar caused difficulties. "We have reached the limits of our calendar," he added.
"The World Cup in Qatar, which runs from November 21 until December 18, falls at the worst possible time. I would have much preferred it to be in January, which would be better in terms of climatic conditions. But we have to live with it." There is not only the World Cup, he states. "The European games keep on going, so there is hardly any rest between [European] qualification matches and the group stages [in Qa."
Because of the World Cup, there is virtually no winter break this year. "The weekend after Qatar we immediately play the 1/8th finals of the Belgian Cup, and Christmas football. On 8 January, we'll be back in action with the Jupiler Pro League," said Van Brantegem.
A winter with snow might spell trouble for the national competition, adds the calendar manager: "There are a number of fallback options. They are pretty bad, I can tell you, but we do have some. Not much needs to happen: a harsh winter and we're in big trouble."
© BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ