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High standards for low country

Belgium's footballers have a proud tradition to maintain, on and off the field of play.
High standards for low country
Belgium's Jan Ceulemans in action during the 1980 UEFA European Championship final against West Germany ©Bob Thomas/Getty Images

High standards for low country

Belgium's footballers have a proud tradition to maintain, on and off the field of play.

The body recognised today as the Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Football-Association / Koninklijke Belgische Voetbalbond (URBSFA-KBVB) was formed in 1895 prior to Belgium's first football championship in 1895/96. Nine years later the association became one of the seven original members of FIFA, whose first secretary and treasurer was the Belgian Louis Mühlinghaus.

The URBSFA-KBVB went from strength to strength with its national team, known as the Red Devils, winning gold at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. That victory set the tone for a string of honours as football rapidly gained popularity around the globe. Indeed, the inaugural FIFA World Cup final of 1930 was officiated by a Belgian referee, John Langenus – an example of how highly regarded Belgium's football had become.

When UEFA was founded in 1954, the URBSFA-KBVB was again heavily involved, with Belgian José Crahay taking a key role in the new organisation. The introduction of European club competitions led to successful Belgian outfits becoming more familiar across the continent. RSC Anderlecht hold the proudest record, having reached a total of seven European finals, with European Cup Winners' Cup victories in 1975/76 and 1977/78, as well as triumphs in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup and the 1976 and 1978 UEFA Super Cups.

Winning the UEFA European Under-18 Championship in 1977 paved the way for something of a golden age for the senior Belgium team on the international stage. Following defeat by the odd goal in three at the hands of West Germany in the final of the 1980 UEFA European Championship, Belgium embarked on a terrific World Cup qualification run. When the national side took part in the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan it was their sixth consecutive appearance in the finals, a sequence stretching back to 1982.

The highlight of their unbroken World Cup streak was the 1986 campaign in Mexico, where they lost to eventual winners Argentina in the semi-finals. Belgium also have a distinguished record off the field, notably when they were awarded the FIFA Fair Play Trophy in 1992 in recognition of the URBSFA-KBVB's efforts in setting up Casa Hogar, a charity aimed at fighting the kind of poverty witnessed during that 1986 trip to central America. The association's dedication to youth football has also been manifested by the creation of a gleaming national training centre at Tubize, near Brussels.

The URBSFA-KBVB also enjoyed a notable achievement by co-hosting UEFA EURO 2000 together with the Netherlands. Four Belgian venues – Brussels, Bruges, Liege and Charleroi – were selected to host matches in what was a 16-team UEFA European Championship.

Since 2002, however, Belgium's senior squad have failed to qualify for a major final tournament. The aim, therefore, is to get the national team back to the highest level, beginning with the 2014 World Cup. They seek a place in Brazil under the command of former Belgian international Marc Wilmots, who is fortunate to have at his disposal a talented draft of players, many of whom took the country to the semi-finals of the UEFA European U21 Championship in 2007.

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François De Keersmaecker

François De Keersmaecker

Nationality: Belgian
Date of birth: 12 April 1958
Association president since: 2006

• A lawyer by profession, François De Keersmaecker was an amateur referee from 1980 to 1985, and from 1987 served as chairman of the Antwerp regional football association. He first joined the Royal Belgian Football Association (URBSFA-KBVB) executive committee in 1996.

• Succeeding Jan Peeters on 24 June 2006, De Keersmaecker became the association's tenth president, following in the footsteps of his late father-in-law, Louis Wouters, who was URBSFA-KBVB president from 1967 to 1987. De Keersmaecker was re-elected in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. He is also a member of the FIFA Legal Committee.

• The association's motto translates as 'football is a school of life' and De Keersmaecker agrees, saying: "That slogan says that football is so much more than just kicking a ball. In football, kids learn a lot of things at a young age which can be of real value in later life: team spirit, responsibility, fair play."

General secretary


Gérard Linard

Gérard Linard

Gérard Linard is currently ad interim general secretary of the Royal Belgian Football Association (URBSFA/KBVB).

Association info

  • Founded: 1895
  • UEFA affiliation: 1954
  • FIFA affiliation: 1904
  • Address: 145, Avenue Houba de Strooper 1020 BRUSSELS
  • Telephone: +32 2 477 1211
  • Fax: +32 2 478 2391

Association club coefficients

Last updated: 20/05/2016 07:48 CET

Honours by National Teams

No titles won

Domestic competitions

Belgian First League 2015/16

1Club Brugge KV3064
2KAA Gent3060
3RSC Anderlecht3055
4KV Oostende3049
5KRC Genk3048
6SV Zulte Waregem3043
7R. Standard de Liège3041
8R. Charleroi SC3039
9KV Kortrijk3039
10KV Mechelen3037
11KSC Lokeren OV3034
13K. Sint-Truidense VV3030
14R. Mouscron-Péruwelz3030
15KVC Westerlo3030
16Oud-Heverlee Leuven3029

Belgian First League 2015/16 Group 1

1Club Brugge KV1054
2RSC Anderlecht1047
3KAA Gent1042
4KRC Genk1040
5KV Oostende1036
6SV Zulte Waregem1027

Belgian First League 2015/16 Group 2

1KV Kortrijk614
2R. Standard de Liège610
3R. Mouscron-Péruwelz65

Belgian First League 2015/16 Group 3

1R. Charleroi SC611
2KSC Lokeren OV611
3KV Mechelen67
4K. Sint-Truidense VV63
Last updated: 29/05/2016 14:35 CET
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