25 Belgian clubs have voted in favour of a merger with the Dutch Eredivisie, with a view to creating a cross-border league named the Beneliga.
The potential merger has long been discussed between Belgium and the Netherlands’ top-tier sides. However, this is the first time there has been unanimous support for such a movement.
Should the plans be pushed through, it would see the Dutch Eredivisie and the Belgian Pro League merge to create one league called the Beneliga.
While the details and formatting of the plans have yet to be disclosed, the vote represents a huge step forward in a move which is hoped will provide financial stability for the clubs competing in the league and offer a platform for them to compete on the European stage.
“This ambition is based both on the respect of the big clubs’ sporting ambitions, and on the need for economic stability for the other professional clubs,” the Blegian Pero League said as reported by the Washington Post. “The 25 clubs are unanimous in their desire to give the Beneliga a fair chance.”
Those opposed to the suggestion have voiced concerns that the move would only favour the bigger teams and that sides in the lower leagues would ultimately lose out in terms of revenue from broadcasting deals.
It was recently forecast by consulting company Deloitte that a merger between the two leagues could generate up to €400m (£343m) per year in marketing and TV revenue.
Despite the suggestion receiving support from 25 Belgian clubs, the reality is that the forming of such a league remains some way off.
Not only would the proposal require UEFA to change the current ruling on cross-border competitions, there’s also the added complication of mega-money broadcasting deals with each respective league which have yet to be fulfilled.