1. The format: 3 descendants to return to 16
If the Pro League has passed a new reform in mid-June, it will not apply for this season but for that of 2023-2024 . As a reminder, this implies the transition from 18 to 16 clubs in D1A for next season, with a direct influence on the progress of this 2022-2023 season. To enable this, there will be 3 descendants at the end of the season. Thus, at the end of the classic phase, on April 23 , them 18th , 17th and 16th will switch to the now Challenger Pro League, without even playing the slightest playoffs or play-offs. In the opposite direction, only the first of Challenger Pro League will access the D1A. The playoff format remains the same with the top four contesting the Champions playoffs. The teams ranked from 5th to 8th place will compete in the Europe playoffs. Season ended for those located between 9th and 18th place at the end of the classic phase, therefore. The Belgian Cup also keeps its current form with the entry into the running of 16 of the 18 clubs of D1A in the 1/16th final and the other two a lap earlier. They keep a protected status and therefore cannot compete against each other during this stage of the competition. From the 2023-2024 season, this status will disappear and the teams qualified for Europe will only enter in the round of 16.
2. An extended transfer window
Open since June 15, the summer transfer window will be a little longer than usual, since it will end on tuesday september 6 . Such a late closing allows Belgian clubs to benefit from a few additional days to turn around in the event of the departure on August 31 in the evening of one of their players to a Big 5 club, where the transfer window still closes its shutters on September 1. A traditional date which remains applicable for England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Portugal, on the other hand, had got into the habit for a while of closing its transfer market later: it will be September 22 (it only starts on July 1). Switzerland and the Netherlands close on August 31.
This winter, the Belgian transfer window will run from January 4 to January 31, 2023. As a reminder, these dates are those of the buyer country. A player from our D1 can therefore be transferred later to a championship whose transfer window is different.
3. A calendar turned upside down by the World Cup
This year is a special year since the World Cup in Qatar, which takes place at the end of the autumn, disrupts the calendar. The championship will continue almost without interruption until the weekend of November 11-13, 2022.
In total, it is the whole of the first round, therefore 17 days which will be played in 16 weeks. We can add the Croky Cup and the European games for the qualifiers. A club like Union could play 28 competitive matches in 113 days. Or a match every four days.
The 17th day will be held only… a week before the official start of the World Cup which begins on Monday 21 November. An express preparation will therefore await the Belgians selected in Qatar where the players will remain at best until Sunday, December 18, day of the final.
The Belgian teams will resume hostilities with the Croky Cup round of 16 to be played on weekdays on 20/21/22 December, just a handful of days after the end of the World Cup. A little novelty with the 18th day which will be played from December 23 and will end after Christmas, on December 27.
This year, no winter break but a break of only ten days since the 19th day will be held on January 6-7-8, 2023. A sustained pace will then take all the teams towards the end of the classic phase for the weekend. end of April 21-23, 2023.
The playoffs will start on the weekend of April 28-30, 2023. The same weekend as the Belgian Cup final. If it concerns one or two top 8 clubs, the clubs concerned will play their first playoff match on Wednesday May 3. The playoffs will be held throughout the month of May and will end, for once, the first weekend of June 2023. And with the possibility for the fourth of the Champions playoffs and the winner of the Europe playoffs to play a final dam on June 11, 2023. Suffice to say that we will make the pleasure last until the end this year in Belgium.
4. 5 more European tickets, but…
Eighth in the European championship standings three years ago, our D1 paid for a few bad campaigns, as we know. Its UEFA coefficient has dropped and after a once again sad season, despite the first edition of a Conference League supposed to suit us better, we finished 2021-22 in 13th place in this index, which combines the last five years of continental performance. .
Main consequence: for the first time since 2012, the 2023 national champion will not be paid directly into the Champions League groups. He will have to play two (or one, if the Russian clubs are still excluded in twelve months) preliminary round (s) to find himself in the group stage. The vice-champion will have three.
The third and fourth in the championship (or the winner of the European playoffs, if he beats the fourth in the European final) will both have to stuff themselves three preliminary rounds of Conference League.
Finally, the winner of the Cup will have two to reach the first round of the Europa League. It’s time to raise the bar to avoid sinking.