How does the football association react after the international match between Belgium and Serbia? “With five top stadiums we wouldn’t have this problem”
15 de November, 2023
Due to heavy rain, Belgium-Serbia will not be played in Brussels but in Leuven. The fact that that decision was only made on Tuesday raises many eyebrows. Manu Leroy realizes that our country is going through a bad turn. “We are in discussions with the city of Brussels to see how they can do something about this situation,” said the CEO of the football association.
Deciding a day in advance about an international match that has to be played at a different location: it is relatively unheard of in modern football. “Although much more rain has fallen than expected,” explains Manu Leroy, the interim CEO of the football association. “We can therefore understand this exceptional situation. The fact that this has not happened before in the past twenty years says something about how extreme it was. We are in dialogue with the city of Brussels. I read that they did not have a sail available themselves. That is one thing, but I think we should also look at how they are going to do something about this situation, how they can modernize the King Baudouin Stadium in the coming years.”
Leroy is aware that the current situation is by no means good advertising for Belgian football. “But with five absolute top stadiums in our country we would not have this problem. I already argued for this during the Nieuwsblad Stadium dossier. If we have several good stadiums, we could hold a kind of tour of Belgium with the national team and play at a different location each time. As mentioned, we are in discussions with the city of Brussels to analyze how we can modernize the King Baudouin Stadium in the coming years, so that it can compete with the modern football temples that our clubs want to build. The money to start on this is ready, hopefully the clubs can start on it soon.”
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“Better an empty stadium than broken ankles”
According to Leroy, the financial consequences remain limited. “Obviously we will suffer a small loss. But this is especially unfortunate for the fans who had hoped to come and watch the Red Devils. Everyone will automatically receive a refund for their paid ticket within one month. The people who did not see any football in the second half against Sweden received a fifty percent discount for the match against Serbia. They will receive the same compensation at another competition next year. It is of course also a shame for the players that they will not be encouraged. But better to play good football in an empty stadium in Leuven – where we should certainly thank the people – than to break your ankles on the field in a King Baudouin Stadium with an audience.”