Jupiler League

Sport Soccer
Country Belgium Belgium
Founded 1895
Teams 18
Teams promoted / relegated 3
Website sport.be

The Belgian First Division, officially known as the Jupiler Pro League, is the top league in Belgian domestic football. It is considered quite a good league although Anderlecht have been the most successful team so far in Belgium.

The first league in Belgian football was called the Coupe de Championnat and was held in the 1895-1896 season. It was conducted by only 7 teams. From the 1898-1899 season, there were two leagues and then in 1900-01, the two leagues were reunited in one of 9 clubs. However, the next year, the first division was split again with a playoff with 4 teams to decide the champion instead of a final game.

For the season 1904-05, the two top leagues merged and the championship was then played between 11 teams and was renamed Division I. One year later, the promotion/relegation system was created with the second division and only 10 teams played first division until 1908, when two more clubs were admitted. There have been several changes in the structure and format of the Belgian league since then.

At the moment 16 teams compete in the Belgian first division. Each club plays the others twice, once at home and once away from home. The season generally lasts between August and May. If at the end of the season, the two top teams have the same number of points, the one with the most wins is placed first. If teams have the same number of points and wins, a test-match is played in two legs to determine the final order in the standings (it is also played when teams are involved in relegation or European fight).

The bottom two teams get relegated to the Belgian second division at the end of each season. The 15th and 16th placed teams go into a play-off. The Belgian champions automatically qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League while the runners-up enter the third qualifying round. The third-placed club enter the last qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.

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