Next season, the Challenger Pro League will change its format. Four U23 teams from 1A clubs will be added to the current eight teams to make twelve participants. After a regular competition that lasts 22 match days, play-offs will follow to determine who will be promoted and who will be relegated.
To give every opportunity to our talented footballers to develop, four promising U23 teams from our Pro League clubs will take part in the next Challenger Pro League season. Another four U23 teams will get a spot in the first national. In the end, six U23 teams will be divided into the second national, four of which will be in the Flemish series and two in the ACFF division. So, in total, there are 14 places to be divided between the competitions Challenger Pro League, first national and second national VV and ACFF.
Professional clubs can voluntarily register with the Pro League for this pilot project of at least two seasons. Sixteen of them signed up for that non-binding offer. These are Cercle Brugge, Club Brugge, KAA Gent, K. Beerschot V.A., KRC Genk, KV Mechelen, Lierse K (Challenger Pro League), OH Leuven, RFC Seraing, R. Antwerp FC, Royal Excelsior Virton (Challenger Pro League), Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, RSC Anderlecht, Sporting Charleroi, Standard de Liège, and SV Zulte Waregem.
The Pro League will communicate about how the division over the leagues and series will take place. It is clear that after the end of the current season, the top four teams in the Belgian U23 league will integrate into the Challenger Pro League. In the 2022-2023 season, the 1B Pro League will be played by 12 teams. Therefore, a new format will be introduced. The double round will disappear, so that the regular competition will have 22 match days. This will be followed by play-offs.
Next season, after the regular competition, the twelve participating teams will be divided into two groups of six clubs: the Promotion Play-offs and the Relegation Play-offs. Whoever is at the top of the Promotion Play-offs after ten match days will be crowned champion in Challenger Pro League and will be promoted directly to the Jupiler Pro League. The last one in the Relegation Play-offs drops to the first national league. The relegated team can also be a U23 team.