The four clubs competing for the title in the Champions' Play-offs have been decided. The four teams in the Europe Play-offs are preparing for six exciting matches. But what exactly is at stake? How will the European tickets be distributed? Read all about it in this Q&A.
Just like last season the champion in the Jupiler Pro League will be determined by the system of shortened play-offs. The four highest ranked teams after the regular competition complete the Champions' Play-offs. Just like in the previous Play-off 1, played by six clubs, the points tally is halved after the regular competition. The four teams also play each other twice.
The teams ranked fifth to eighth go to The Europe Play-offs. This playoff competition (temporarily) replaces the old Playoff 2, but with less teams. Just like in the Champions' Play-offs, the four teams of the Europe Play-offs play each other at home and away and the points tally is halved after the regular competition.
The champion of the Champions' Play-offs wins the Belgian league. The winner of the Europe Play-offs will play a final match against the fourth placed team of the Champions' Play-offs, with the last European ticket up for grabs.
When are the Play-offs held?
The first of six match days is scheduled for the weekend of 22-24 April, the final match day is on the weekend of 20-22 May. The exact schedule will be announced on Monday evening at 6 p.m.
The cup final between RSC Anderlecht and KAA Gent was played on Monday 18 April between the end of the regular league in the weekend of 8-10 April and the start of the play-offs.
How are the European tickets distributed?
A total of five European tickets are to be distributed in the Play-offs. The winner of the regular competition (= Royale Union Saint-Gilloise) is at least sure of the third qualifying round of the Conference League.
- Winner of the Champions’ Play-offs: group stage of the Champions League;
- Team in second place: third qualifying round of the Champions League;
- Team in third place: last qualifying round of the Conference League;
- Cup winner: last qualifying round of the Europe League;
The winner of the Europe Play-offs will face the team in fourth place of the Champions' Play-offs in a final for a ticket in the second qualifying round of the Conference League.
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What if RSC Anderlecht wins the cup final?
If RSC Anderlecht wins the cup final the final between the team in fourth place of the Champions' Play-offs and the winner of the Europe Play-offs will not be played. Five European tickets are to be distributed via the Play-offs. RSC Anderlecht (aka Purple & White) and the three other participants in the Champions' Play-offs are sure of a European ticket.
If RSC Anderlecht comes first or second - and thus wins a Champions League ticket - the European tickets move up. In that scenario, the team in third place receives the Europa League ticket, and the winner of the Europe Play-offs qualifies for the Conference League anyway.
If cup winner RSC Anderlecht finishes third or fourth, Purple & White will keep the Europa League ticket. In that case too, the winner of the Europe Play-offs will play in the Conference League next season anyway.
What if KAA Gent wins the cup final?
If KAA Gent wins the Cup and the Europe Play-offs, the final against the team in fourth place in the Champions' Play-offs will not be played. The team in fourth place will then receive the last European ticket, and KAA Gent, as cup winner, will keep the Europa League ticket.
If cup winner KAA Gent does not win the Europe Play-offs, the final game will be played as usual.
What if Royale Union Saint-Gilloise finishes fourth in the Champions' Play-offs?
As winner of the regular competition, Royale Union Saint-Gilloise is at least entitled to participate in the third qualifying round of the Conference League. Assuming that a final game has to be played against the winner of the Europe Play-offs, the opponent will therefore not be Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.
If the team from Brussels finishes fourth, they will still qualify for the last qualifying round of the Conference League. If this were to happen, the team in third place will play the final against the winner of the Europa Play-offs, with the last European ticket up for grabs.
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What happens in case of a draw?
If two teams are tied at the end of the play-offs, the regular competition is looked at first. As always, the points tallies of all teams are halved for the play-offs. If this is not a whole number, it is rounded up. That's the case for Royal Antwerp FC, which goes from 63 to 32 points.
After the six play-off matches, the half-point awarded is deducted if this is necessary to resolve a tie. If two or more clubs still have the same number of points, the final ranking of these clubs is determined by their ranking in the regular competition.
What about promotion and relegation this season?
This year, one team was immediately relegated. K. Beerschot V.A. finished last in the regular competition and dropped to the 1B Pro League. The Antwerp team's spot in the Jupiler Pro League is taken by KVC Westerlo, which came first in 1B and is thus promoted directly.
RFC Seraing - the club that finished seventeenth and thus penultimate - will still play two play-off matches. RFC Seraing will take on RWDM, the team that finished second in the 1B Pro League after KVC Westerlo.
RWDM will welcome RFC Seraing on 23 April (18.30) in the first match in Molenbeek. The return match in Seraing is on 30 April (20.45). The winner of the two matches will play in 1A next season, the loser in 1B
Are yellow cards and suspensions cleared in the play-offs?
At the start of the Champions' and Europe Play-offs, yellow cards received by players during the regular season simply disappear. Their counter is reset to zero. The same applies to the play-offs between RFC Seraing and RWDM: the yellow cards their players accumulated during the season are cleared.
Administrative suspensions received on match day 34 due to yellow cards are carried over to the Champions' and Europe Play-offs. The same applies to disciplinary suspensions after a direct red card.
Also, during the play-offs, players will be suspended for one match after three yellow cards. In the regular competition phase, this is only the case after five yellow cards.