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Scandal as Champions League hopefuls play out 'fixed' draw sparking backlash

Scandal as Champions League hopefuls play out 'fixed' draw sparking backlash

Both sides needed a draw to fulfil their season's target.

There has been huge controversy in Belgium as Champions League-chasing side appeared to 'fix' the last match of the season while the powerless referee looked on and laughed.

Westerlo and Genk played to a 1-1 draw in their last Belgian Pro League fixture of the season ahead of the Championship round which begins this week.

The match looked like it was heading for an exciting climax after Bryan Heynen scored the equaliser for Genk in the 86th minute to make it 1-1.

Rather notably, Westerlo only needed a point to avoid relegation, while Genk also required just one point to secure sixth in the league and qualification for the Championship round.

After the goal, despite having a numerical advantage following a red card for Genk, Westerlo chose to retain possession and pass amongst themselves, with both teams content to ensure the match finished all square.

One of the Genk players even resorted to doing fitness exercises on the field, while players from both teams began shaking hands during stoppage time rather than gunning for a winning goal.

The suspicious result has sparked considerable controversy, with Belgian FA officials denouncing the result as a "sham of fairness" and a "parody."

Consequently, fines have been imposed on all 21 players who participated in the match, along with bans for the two captains and both coaches with Westerlo taking matters into their own hands by terminating the contract of manager Rik De Mil.

credit- @elevenbefr via X
credit- @elevenbefr via X

Additionally, the two clubs face the possibility of fines amounting to £8,500, with the Federal Prosecutor's Office categorising the conclusion of the game as "blatant fraud."

Following the sacking of De Mil, Westerlo released the following statement: "The club has terminated the contract with head coach Rik De Mil with immediate effect. Despite considering long-term collaboration, we found it necessary to make this decision.

"The club regrets having to take this measure but cannot accept that its values and norms would be questioned. We thank Rik for his performance and dedication, and wish him every success in the future."

Featured Image Credit: @elevenbefr via X

Topics: Football, Belgium, Champions League