Bommetje in the Pro League: Union CEO Philippe Bormans leaves the board of directors out of dissatisfaction

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Union CEO Philippe Bormans has resigned from the Board of Directors of the Pro League out of dissatisfaction. Bormans represented the k11, the smaller clubs from the Jupiler Pro League. They now have to look for a new representative. “This system is wrong,” said Bormans.

In June last year, the Football First plan of the Pro League was approved, including a new composition of the board of directors. The number of members has since been reduced from eight to six, with a clear division. The board of directors now includes two representatives from the G5, one representative from the K11, one representative from 1B and two independent directors. “Unworkable and unbalanced,” says Bormans.

Since last year, the CEO of Union has been the sole representative of the K11 (all clubs except Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Genk, Ghent and Antwerp) on the Board of Directors of the Pro League, but believes that there is such an imbalance. He has to compete on his own against Antwerp CEO Sven Jaecques and Anderlecht chairman Wouter Vandenhaute as representatives of the G5 and Lommel chairman Harm Van Veldhoven as representative of 1B. “Before the Football First plan there was more than one representative for the smaller clubs, now there is an imbalance. That’s just not feasible. I have no impact that way, because we are not taken into account. This system is just not right, it is not a true reflection of our professional clubs. That is not in line with my standards and values. Then I prefer to keep the honor to myself and get out.”

Bormans is frustrated that the independent directors have little knowledge of football technical files and are therefore inclined to follow the majority. Recent point of contention included a decision on the integration of the U23 clubs into 1B. “I don’t think that U21 teams belong in our professional football,” says Bormans. Something that the G5 clubs and also the clubs from 1B do not agree with. Last season and also next season, the U23 teams of Standard, Club Brugge, Anderlecht and Genk will play in 1B. “Those four clubs each have to pay 1 million euros in ‘starting money’, which is divided among the clubs from 1B. It is therefore logical that 1B thinks this is a good idea. But it is such a missed opportunity to make this project an added value for all youth football players, not just the clubs of the big four. For example, I insisted on installing minimum investments for every professional club in youth football. The difference in speed of development between the top and the rest worries me.”

The k11 now has to look for a new representative, wait and see who feels like it. It is not the first time that someone leaves the board of directors of the Pro League. For example, in 2020 Vincent Goemaere of Cercle Brugge also withdrew.

At the general meeting of the Pro League, it was decided on Tuesday that the home and away matches in the semi-finals of the Croky Cup will be retained. The distribution key of TV funds in 1B was slightly adjusted due to the expansion from twelve to sixteen teams.

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