BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Club Brugge were formally declared Belgian champions on Friday after the country’s Pro League confirmed last month’s decision to bring the season to a premature halt in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the club said on twitter.

Brugge had a runaway 15 point lead with one match left in the regular season and will take up an automatic spot in next season’s Champions League group phase.

It is a 17th title for the club and their third in the last five seasons.

Belgium was the first country in Europe to end its soccer season just weeks after its suspension in mid-March but that decision made by the Pro League board still had to be ratified by the clubs, who did so at Friday’s general assembly.

Club Brugge tweeted confirmation of the decision after Belgian media had earlier reported that the meeting had also decided bottom-placed Waasland-Beveren would be relegated.

The Pro League was expected to make an official statement laterm on Friday.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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