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Belgian Clubs Propose Merger With Dutch Football League

Belgian Clubs Propose Merger With Dutch Football League

Clubs from Belgium’s Pro League have voted unanimously in support for a proposed merger with the Dutch Eredivisie.

In the proposal, top teams from the Belgian and Dutch first division football leagues would form the ‘BeNeLeague’.

The idea has been considered since 2019, led by Club Brugge owner Bart Verhaeghe.

In a statement published on the Pro League website, their decision was described as one that was necessary to maintain economic stability for their top clubs.

“The BeNeLeague must be accompanied by the assurance of economic stability for the other professional clubs through the creation of one national top league based on sustainable licensing and competition rules,” the statement said.

The vision also means that the under-23 teams of the professional clubs can compete in the National Amateur series,” it said.

Dutch powerhouses Feyenoord, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, and AZ Alkmaar are believed to be amongst the potential 18 participants, along with major Belgian clubs including Club Brugge, Anderlecht, Standard Liege, Genk, and Gent.

Both leagues finish their current broadcast deals in 2025, allowing for a potential new deal if the leagues merged.

The Pro League’s TV deal is worth AUD$145 million per season, whilst Eredivisie’s deal is valued at AUD$127 million per season.

According to a study by Deloitte, a merger between the two leagues could generate up to AUD$615 million in broadcast revenue per season.

In other European football news, there is a proposed change to the control of media and sponsorship rights for European club tournaments.

It involves a joint venture between UEFA and European clubs, sharing control of these rights.

Currently, UEFA runs major competitions such as the Champions League and Europa entirely on their own.

The new model is planned to begin in 2024, with the intention of giving clubs more influence over key decision points such as fixturing.

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