Belgium Second Division
The Belgian Second Division (known as the Proximus League for sponsorship reasons) was the second-highest division in the Belgian football league system, one level below the Belgian Pro League. It was founded by the Royal Belgian Football Association in 1909 and folded in 2016, when it was replaced by the Belgian Pro League B.
The second division was created in 1909 and was known as the Promotion at the time. From 1923 on there were two leagues in that division (called Promotion A and Promotion B). In 1926, the system changed, with only one league of 14 clubs at the second-highest level now called Division I. At the end of the 1930-31 season, Division I was split into two leagues again (of 14 clubs each). Each year, the bottom two teams of each league were relegated to Division II and the top two clubs were promoted to the Premier Division. In 1952, the division was renamed to Division II with 16 teams (one league). The first two clubs qualified for the first division. In 1974, play-offs were introduced to qualify a second team to the top level. Finally, in 1994, the number of clubs was increased to 18 clubs. A win earns three points since the 1993-94 season. In the seasons 2008-09 and 2009–10, the second division was played between 19 teams following the Namur – Geel case (both teams claiming their rights to access the second division). In June 2015, reforms in top three divisions were approved by the Belgian FA, with the second tier reformed and renamed Belgian Pro League B starting in 2016. The Belgian Second Division ceased to exist following the 2015–16 season.
The season consisted of a regular season (18 teams, 34 matchdays) and the play-offs. The regular season was a double round-robin tournament played between August and May, with an interruption of 3 weeks in the winter. Beside the overall classification of teams, 3 other period rankings were computed. The first period consisted of the first 10 matchdays, the second of the next 12 matchdays and the third of the final 12 matchdays. At the beginning of each period, all teams started with a blank record for the next period ranking. The winner of the overall regular season was promoted to the first division. The teams with the best record in each of the 3 periods qualified for the play-offs, together with the 15th-placed team in the first division. If one or several periods were won by the regular season champion or if another team won multiple periods, the best-placed teams in the overall ranking qualified for the play-offs, to allow it to be played between 4 teams. The play-offs were a double round-robin, with the winner earning a place in the first division.
The standings, for both the regular season and the 3 periods, were determined by the following criteria, in order:
- number of points
- number of wins
- a play-off at a neutral venue (with extra time and penalty shootout if necessary)
The standings during the play-offs were determined following the same criteria except that the goal-average wes not taken into account. A team was also not allowed to play in the first division unless it had a professional license. If it did not have its license, it was replaced by the next highest team in the overall regular season ranking. For the automatic promotion spot (as opposed to the play-offs) the team must have finished in the top three clubs. When no team meets those conditions, the number of teams in the first division decreased.
The two lowest-placed teams relegated to the third division (which is divided into 2 leagues of 18 clubs) and were replaced by the two champions of that division. Furthermore, the 16th-placed team in the second division played the third division play-off with 6 teams from the third division, entering in the second round of those playoffs. The winner of this play-off remained or promoted to the second division.
As part of changes in the league system to be implemented in the 2016–17 season, the 2015–16 transitional season saw the champions promoted and 9 teams relegated to the third division, while no team was promoted from the third division.
- 1905–1926: Promotion
- 1926–1952: Division I
- 1952–2008: Division II
- 2008–2010: EXQI League
- 2010–2012: Division II
- 2012–2016: Belgacom League
Belgium Pro League B
History and Format
The Belgian Pro League B (officially known as Proximus League) is the second-highest division in the Belgian football league system, one level below the Belgian Pro League A. It was created by the Royal Belgian Football Association in 2016, replacing the Belgian Second Division.
The Belgian Pro League B was created in 2016 as the successor of the Belgian Second Division following an overhaul of the Belgian football league system which saw the number of professional clubs reduced to 24 and the number of teams at the second level of the football pyramid to 8.
The season comprises two separate competitions in which all 8 teams play each other twice. The winners of both competitions face each other in a two-legged playoff with the winner promoted to the Belgian Pro League A. The top three teams, excluding the promoted team, play together with the teams finishing in the positions 7 through 15 of the Belgian Pro League A in a playoff for a ticket into the UEFA Europa League. The remaining four teams play a relegation playoff, with the last team relegating into the Belgian First Amateur Division.
[nb 1] – Although Tubize finished last and would have been relegated, Lierse went bankrupt and was removed as a team. As a result, Tubize remained in the Belgian Pro League B while the matricule of Lierse was removed.
Number of Teams: 8
Dates: 12/08/2018 – 11/11/2018
Points for Win: 3
Points for Draw: 1
Number of Matches: 14 (teams play each other twice)
Match Rules: The squad must have at least 6 players trained by a club in Belgium. Players signed on free transfers can be registered at any time. Players under the age of 21 can be registered at any time. Only players registered for this competition are eligible to play. 7 subs named, maximum 3 used.
Trialist Rules: No trialists allowed to play in matches.
Squad Registration: Minimum of 8 homegrown players developed in the nation. Minimum of 3 goalkeepers in the squad. Maximum squad size of 25 players. Players can be registered between Friday 6th July 2018 and Thursday 6th September 2018. Players can be registered between Monday 1st January 2018 and Wednesday 31st January 2018. Registered players up pick up a long-term injury (at least 180 days out) can be replaced in the squad.
League Sorting Rules: Games Won then Goal Difference then Goals Scored then Games Played Away from Home only then Away Goals Scored.
Promotion: B teams are not allowed to be promoted from this division.
Qualification: Top team qualifies for Champions Playoff.
Disciplinary Rules: 1 match ban after 5 yellow cards. 2 match ban after next 5 yellow cards. 3 match ban for every additional 5 yellow cards. 1 match ban for every red card. The following bans may be added for the specified offences: One Match: Striking another player (minor). Two Matches: Violent Conduct. Striking another player. Five Matches: Striking another player (extreme). Twelve Matches: Striking a match official.
Transfer Window: Sunday 1st July 2018 to Friday 31st August 2018. Saturday 1st September 2018 to Monday 31st December 2018 (Free Transfers Only). Tuesday 1st January 2019 to Thursday 31st January 2019.
Wage Rules: £325 minimum wage for full-time players 16 years old and up.
Loan Rules: Emergency goalkeepers can be signed at any time during the season.
Stadium Requirements: Minimum Stadium Capacity: 4000. Minimum Stadium Seating Capacity: 1500.