The Belgian Cup is a historic competition, having had its first renewal back in 1911. It is the leading cup competition that takes place each year in Belgian football. The Belgium Football Association oversees this competition and it has gone through a number of different sponsors in recent years.
There are a number of teams that have tended to dominate the competition in recent years. However, their stranglehold on the Belgian Cup does tend to be broken every few years.
The history of the Belgian Cup
Belgium has had knockout cup football since the 1907/1908 season. However, instead of individual club teams, this competition was for players on a provincial team basis. It was in 1911 that individual clubs began to form the Belgian Cup. Although, the first few years of the competition was disrupted due to the outbreak of World War I.
It was not until the 1926/1927 season that the cup competition got going again. However, a number of further controversies marred the competition for a number of years.
Following the culmination of World War II, the Belgian Cup did not return until 1953. However, just three years later the competition was once again suspended. It was not renewed until 1964 after the creation of the European Cup Winners Cup that the Belgian Cup was once again a part of the season’s calendar in Belgium.
The winner of the Belgian Cup would be the representative for the country in this European Cup Winners competition.
There was briefly a Belgian League Cup competition in place. This ran from 1997 until 2000 with the winner gaining entry into the UEFA Intertoto Cup. However, this competition was later abandoned because the leading teams were not too interested in the competition and were putting out second-string teams.
There was also poor levels of attendance at these Belgian League Cup games, which was another significant factor in wrapping up this competition after running for just three seasons. The winners of the only iterations of the Belgian League Cup were RSC Anderlecht, Sint-Truiden and Lommel.
Club Brugge KV is the team that holds the most Belgian Cup titles, having won the competition on 11 occasions, with the last final being won in 2015. Next in the rankings is Anderlecht with nine titles followed by R Standard Liege with eight wins.
The format of the Belgian Cup
The Belgian Cup normally begins in July or August and it is solely a knockout competition that has a total of eight rounds, as well as the semi-final and final. Any team that plays football on a national level in the country takes part in this competition. In the first five levels of the competition, there are 152 different clubs taking part.
The leading teams in the Belgian Provincial Leagues also get entry into the Belgian Cup. The number of entries depends on the population size of the respective province. Some of these provinces can enter as many as 20 teams. There are seeds in place so the leading teams do not have to get involved in the competition until the latter rounds.
In the earlier rounds, there is no seeding but teams will be paired together in a geographical format to cut down on travelling costs for these sides.
There is also a rule from level five onwards until round seven that a club in the same league cannot be paired with each other. If an amateur team does well and gets drawn against a professional team, the rules dictate that the amateur team will always have the home fixture. This is provided that the ground meets the minimum standards of the Belgian Football Association.
Usually, the Belgian Cup final is held at the King Baudouin Stadium. Extra time in the case of a draw after normal time is played in fixtures from round four onwards. If it is still a draw after extra time, then there will be a penalty shoot-out taking place. It is only the semi-final that takes place over a couple of legs.
Betting on the Belgian Cup
As the Belgian Cup is the leading cup competition in Belgium, teams take this competition very seriously. They put out strong sides in order to try and win the highly sought after trophy. Therefore, you know that when you are choosing your bets that teams are not going to be putting out second string sides for these games. There is also the chance of big upsets happening, just like any knockout competition, so there can often be a lot of value to be found in these games.