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The Belgian Cup (French: Coupe de Belgique; Dutch: Beker van België [Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbeːkər vɑn ˈbɛlɣijə]]; German: Belgischer Fußballpokal) is the main knockout football competition in Belgium, run by the Belgian Football Association. The first cup was held in 1911–12. The most successful cup club is Club Brugge KV with 11 titles followed by RSC Anderlecht (9) and R Standard de Liège (8). Since the 2015–16 edition, the Belgian Cup is sponsored by crisp brand Croky and the cup is now called the Croky Cup.
|Number of teams||294|
|Qualifier for||UEFA Europa League|
|Domestic cup(s)||Belgian Super Cup|
|Current champions||Antwerp (3rd title)|
|Most successful club(s)||Club Brugge (11 titles)|
|2019–20 Belgian Cup|
The first cup competition ever in Belgium was held in 1907-08 but the teams were not actual teams but were provincial selections. The province of West-Vlaanderen won to that of Antwerp by 6–2. The next year, the province of Antwerp beat that of Brabant by 5–2. The cup was then suspended for two years.
The competition began with actual clubs in 1911 but was soon stopped due to the First World War. The interruption lasted until the season 1926-27 but again, the cup fell into disgrace among the leading clubs at the time. In 1953 the competition was finally back in the football calendar. Three years later, a poll was organized after which the Belgian cup was stopped once again. In 1964, with the birth of the European Cup Winners' Cup, the competition was organized once again, in order to send Belgian representative into the competition.
Another cup competition called Belgian League Cup was held between 1997 and 2000. The winning team was qualified for the UEFA Intertoto Cup but the biggest clubs were denying this competition and were playing it with B teams. This, and the poor attendance during the matches were among the major arguments to stop the competition after three seasons. The winners were successively Lommel, Sint-Truiden and RSC Anderlecht.
Beginning in July or August, the competition proceeds as a knockout tournament throughout, consisting of eight rounds, a semi-final and then a final. All teams playing at the national level of football (Levels 1 through 5, for a total of 152 clubs) are expected to participate, together with the top teams from the Belgian Provincial Leagues. The provinces each receive a number of entries depending on their number of inhabitants, as such the provinces of Antwerp and East Flanders can enter 20 clubs each; Limburg and West Flanders 17 each; Hainaut and Liège 16 each and 12 clubs can be entered by both Luxembourg and Namur. As clubs from Brussels, Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant are grouped together into a province "Brabant" and then split into two separate provincial leagues depending on the language spoken, each of these leagues has its own quotum of clubs. 17 clubs can participate from the league of teams with a Flemish license and 13 from the league containing teams with a Francophone license. To determine which teams from each province can participate, each province can devise their own ruling, but commonly tickets are awarded to the best performing teams in each respective provincial cup tournament of the prior season, with any remaining tickets awarded to the highest finishing teams not already qualified in the highest provincial league. As a result, most teams from the Provincial Leagues participating in the Belgian Cup are playing in the top two provincial divisions, although each season a few teams from the lower divisions succeed in qualifying.
A system of byes ensures clubs above Level 5 enter the competition at later stages. In round 1 only, teams are grouped geographically prior to the draw to reduce travel costs for smaller teams. No seeding occurs, however any club from Level 5 or up can not be paired with a club from the same league in the round in which they enter. As an example: teams from the Belgian First Division A enter in round six and can only be drawn against each other as from round seven. In rounds five through seven, in case an amateur team (Level 3 or below) is drawn against a professional team (Level 2 or above), the amateur team will always receive home advantage if their ground meets the regulation specifications. The final is typically played at the King Baudouin Stadium.
In the first three rounds, fixtures ending in a tie are decided by penalty kicks immediately, extra time is only played from round four onwards and possibly followed by penalty kicks if necessary. The semi-final round is the only round played over two legs; as such extra time and penalty kicks can only occur in the return match.
Qualified entrants from the provincial leagues (levels 6 through 9) begin the competition in the first round together with teams from the Belgian Third Amateur Division (level 5). Clubs from higher levels are then added in later rounds, as per the table below. The months in which rounds are played are traditional, with exact dates subject to each year's calendar.
|Round||New entrants at this round||Month||No. of matches|
|First Round||Level 5 through 9 clubs||July||112|
|Second Round||Level 4 clubs||August||80|
|Third Round||Level 3 clubs||48|
|Fifth Round||Level 2 clubs||16|
|Sixth Round||Level 1 clubs||September||16|
Belgian Cup winners and finalistsEdit
Performance by clubEdit
|Club||Wins||Last final won||Runners-up||Last final lost|
|SV Thor Waterschei||2||1982||1||1955|
|K Beerschot VAC||2||1979||1||1968|
|R Charleroi SC||0||2||1993|
|K Tubantia Borgerhout||0||1||1927|
- italic clubs dissolved or merged
- (PDF) http://static.belgianfootball.be/project/publiek/reglement/reglement_nl.pdf. Retrieved 11 April 2019. Missing or empty
- "Croky Cup is komende jaren te zien bij Sporza". sporza.be (in Dutch). 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-09-18.