15-year-olds allowed to participate and transfer market closing on September 6: what will change in the Jupiler Pro League?
21 de July, 2023
Players aged 15 and over also eligible to play
The minimum age in the Pro League is no longer 16 years, but will be moved to 15 years. Promising players can now make their first playing minutes in 1A and 1B before their 16th birthday, provided they have signed a professional contract.
Behind closed doors when fans misbehave
As it turned out last season, some supporters leave their good manners at home. To avoid discussions, the Pro League will introduce new rules this year: no more forfeit defeat when supporters ensure that the match is stopped. Instead, the match will resume behind closed doors from the minute the stoppage occurred, with the score at the time of the stoppage. That will happen on the Monday or Tuesday after the match day, unless it concerns a team that plays European in that week. Then a favorable moment is sought.
Transfermarkt closes again later
Just like last year, the transfer window in the Belgian league will run longer than in most other European leagues. The clubs have until September 6 at 11:59 PM to strengthen their team. In the English, German and French leagues, on the other hand, the transfer window closes on September 1. The winter mercato then starts again on January 5, 2024 and closes on February 1, 2024 at 11:59 PM.
Two teams less
The football league starts again with sixteen teams as in the 2019-2020 season, which is two teams less than last year. That reform meant that we lost three teams in 1A last year and only one club could rise from 1B. RWDM is playing football at the highest level again. The team from Molenbeek became champion in 1B in May after an exciting battle against SK Beveren. RWDM is therefore the only PhD student this year. 1A said goodbye to KV Oostende, Seraing and Zulte Waregem last season. So there are only 30 regular competition days on the agenda.
Play-offs again in a new guise
The Pro League gives the play-offs a new look. No team has a shorter season, every team gets a place in a play-off. The top six in the standings will compete in the Champions’ Play-offs for the title and a ticket to Europe. The first three of these play-offs are certain of European football, the fourth still has to play a jump-off match.
In the Europe Play-offs, the numbers 7 to 12 of the regular competition compete against each other. The team that finishes first in this play-off may play a jump-off match for the fourth European ticket against the number four of the Champions’ Play-offs.
The last four teams of the regular season have to play for the Relegation Play-offs. Of these four teams, the last two will certainly drop, the second in this play-off will have to compete in jump-off matches against the third in the ranking in 1B for a place in the highest football class.
Also changes in the women
Since this season, the Pro League has also taken care of the Lotto Super League. There will be played a normal regular season of eighteen games, followed by play-offs of six and four teams respectively. The play-offs start with the points halved.