How will the start of the new Pro League season go this weekend? Besides Westerlo who wants his place in D1A, the situation in Antwerp worries. The three clubs in the province (Mechelen, Beerschot and Antwerp) cannot train normally following the Covid measures.
Antwerp clubs are not allowed to train with contacts in their facilities. So this makes it difficult to prepare for the first Pro League match. Antwerp and Mechelen have already said they will not refuse to play if no decision is made quickly enough. Both clubs want to return to a normal training situation.
For its part, the Beerschot decided to train in the facilities of Tubize. However, it will cost them a small fortune to rent the facilities. This solution is unthinkable in the long term. Mechelen is playing this weekend at home against Anderlecht and Antwerp at home against Mouscron. The Beerschot heads to Ostend on Monday.
A very complex situation
There is little chance that Antwerp and Mechelen will be able to play at home this weekend but the two clubs have no plans to move. This will become a hell of a puzzle for the organizer of the Pro League calendar. Nils Van Brantegem has three weeks during the winter holidays and can plan matches that are not played there.
But that space has actually been kept clear in case there is a rise in Covid-19 infections. The second option is to organize the championship days in the middle of the week but the task does not seem easy as Antwerp is European this season.
Solutions will have to be found because virologist Steven Van Gucht is clear: “No exceptions will be made for clubs in the province of Antwerp,” he told VTM.