Challenger Pro League

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(Redirected from Belgian First Division B)

Challenger Pro League
League logo
Founded2016; 7 years ago (2016)
Number of teams16
Level on pyramid2
Promotion toBelgian Pro League
Relegation toBelgian National Division 1
Domestic cup(s)Belgian Cup
International cup(s)UEFA Europa League (via Belgian Cup)
Current championsRWD Molenbeek
TV partnersEleven Sports Edit this at Wikidata
Current: 2023–24 Challenger Pro League

The Challenger Pro League (previously known as 1B Pro League) is the second-highest division in the Belgian football league system, one level below the Belgian Pro League. It was created by the Royal Belgian Football Association in 2016, replacing the Belgian Second Division. From the season 2016–17 until 2019–20, the competition was named Proximus League, after the main sponsor Proximus.


The Belgian First Division B was created in 2016 as the successor of the Belgian Second Division following an overhaul of the Belgian football league system which saw the number of professional clubs reduced to 24 and the number of teams at the second level of the football pyramid to 8.[1]

During Belgian Second Division era from 1973 to 2016, the second division winner and the play-off winner promote to the first division. From 2016 on, the second division winner is no longer guaranteed promotion. The league is divided in two periods of 15 games. The winners of a period compete each other in a final. If a team wins both periods, no final is played and it automatically rises to the highest level. In 2017, Lierse became champion of the league, but no promotion was allowed because they did not win a period. Antwerp and SV Roeselare played the final.

Competition format[edit]

Until 2020[edit]

From its inception in 2016 until 2020, the season consisted of two separate competitions in which all 8 teams played each other twice. The winners of both competitions faced each other in a two-legged playoff with the winner crowned champions and promoted to the Belgian First Division A.

For the remaining teams, until 2019, the top three teams (excluding the promoted team), played together with the teams finishing in the positions 7 through 15 of the Belgian First Division A in a playoff for a ticket into the UEFA Europa League. The remaining four teams played a relegation playoff, with the last team relegating into the Belgian First Amateur Division. From 2019, the top six teams all took part in the Europa League playoffs (including the promoted team), with only the bottom two teams playing the relegation playoff in which they play each other five times.

2020 to 2022[edit]

The 2020–21 and 2021–22 seasons no longer involved two separate competitions, but rather one quadruple round-robin league in which all teams play each other four times. At the end of the season, the top-ranked team was crowned champions and promoted, while the second-placed team earned a two-legged promotion playoff against the 17th-place finisher from the Belgian First Division A for a place in the top division. The team finishing in last place was relegated to the Belgian National Division 1 (renamed from Belgian First Amateur Division).

2022 to 2023[edit]

From the 2022–23 season, the league was expanded to 12 teams, as from this season U23-teams no longer play in separate competitions but rather join the regular competition.[2] To accommodate this expansion, the league format was changed again. Now all teams play a regular round-robin round (22 matches), after which the league splits into two halves, with the top 6 teams battling for promotion to the Belgian First Division A which only goes to the top team at the end of the season after 32 matches, while the bottom 6 also meet each other but with the goal of avoiding finishing last as this team will be relegated. Promotion/relegation playoffs are no longer organized, only the top and the bottom team at the end of the season change leagues. Furthermore, U23 teams will be able to be relegated from or promoted into the Belgian First Division B, but cannot earn promotion to the Belgian First Division A.[3] The league was renamed to Challenger Pro League.[4]

From 2023 onwards[edit]

From the 2023–24 season onwards, the league was expanded again to 16 teams, as from this season 4 teams U23 from top tier club will play in separate competitions but rather join the regular competition. After the end of the season, two teams will be directly promoted to Belgian Pro League, four teams will battle in the promotion play-off round with 6 matches. The team that finishes in top position at Play-off round will battle against the 2nd of the relegation play-offs in the Belgian Pro League. The two bottom teams will be directly relegated to Belgian National Division 1.


Members for 2023–24[edit]

For the 2023–24 season the following clubs will take part.

Club name City Last
First season of
current spell in
top division
Beerschot Antwerp 4th 2022–23
Beveren Beveren 2nd 2021–22
Club NXT Bruges 3rd 2022–23
Deinze Deinze 8th 2020–21
Dender EH Denderleeuw 9th 2022–23
Francs Borains Boussu 3rd (ND1) 2023–24
Jong Genk Genk 11th 2022–23
Lierse Kempenzonen Lier 5th 2020–21
Lommel SK Lommel 7th 2018–19
Oostende Oostende 16th (JPL) 2023–24
Patro Eisden Maasmechelen 1st (ND1) 2023–24
RFC Liège Liège 2nd (ND1) 2023–24
RSCA Futures Anderlecht, Brussels 6th 2022–23
SL16 FC Liège 10th 2022–23
Seraing Seraing 18th (JPL) 2023–24
Zulte Waregem Waregem 17th (JPL) 2023–24

Past results overview[edit]

Season Opening tournament winner Closing tournament winner Promotion play-off winner (Champion) Europa League play-offs qualifiers Relegated
2016–17 Roeselare Antwerp Antwerp Lierse, Roeselare and Union SG Lommel United
2017–18 Beerschot Wilrijk Cercle Brugge Cercle Brugge Beerschot Wilrijk, OH Leuven and Lierse none [nb 1]
2018–19 Mechelen Beerschot Wilrijk Mechelen Beerschot Wilrijk, Union SG and Westerlo Tubize
2019–20 OH Leuven Beerschot Beerschot [nb 2] not held [nb 3] Roeselare and Virton[nb 4]
Season Champion Promotion play-off qualifier Relegated
2020–21 Union SG Seraing[nb 5] none [nb 6]
2021–22 Westerlo RWD Molenbeek[nb 7] Excel Mouscron[nb 8]
Season Regular season winner (Champion) Promotion play-off qualifier Relegated
2022–23 RWD Molenbeek no playoffs this season Virton
Season Champion Runner-up Promotion play-off qualifier Relegated


Proximus broadcasts every game whilst it sponsored the league, Telenet broadcasts one random game every week. As of the 2020–21 season, Eleven Sports acquired the broadcasting rights to all professional league games (1A, 1B and the Super Cup) in Belgium.[5]


  1. ^ Although Tubize finished last and would have been relegated, Lierse went bankrupt and was removed as a team. As a result, Tubize remained in the Belgian First Division B while the matricule of Lierse was removed.
  2. ^ Both Beerschot and OH Leuven were promoted as the First Division A was expanded to 18 teams.
  3. ^ Not held due to coronavirus pandemic, Beerschot, Lommel, OH Leuven, Union SG, Virton and Westerlo had qualified.
  4. ^ No relegation playoffs were played due to the coronavirus pandemic, but both Roeselare and Virton were relegated as they were refused a professional football license due to insufficient proof of financial solvency. Lokeren went bankrupt and was removed as a team.
  5. ^ Seraing won the promotion playoff and was promoted as well.
  6. ^ Normally, Lierse Kempenzonen would have been relegated due to finishing in last place (except for Club NXT which was ineligible for promotion/relegation as a youth team). However, the general meeting of the Pro League decided on 16 March that no team would be relegated, as the 2020–21 Belgian National Division 1 had been canceled due to measures taken by the Belgian government against the spread of COVID-19 prohibiting amateur football, causing no team to be promoted from that league to fill the gap.
  7. ^ RWD Molenbeek lost the promotion playoff and was not promoted.
  8. ^ Although Virton finished last and would have been relegated, Excel Mouscron was refused a professional football licence and thus relegated instead.


  1. ^ "La réforme du championnat approuvée: une grande lessive se prépare en D2 (INFOGRAPHIE)" (in French). 15 June 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  2. ^ "14 belofteteams in 1B en amateurreeksen vanaf seizoen 2022-2023". (in Dutch). 30 June 2021. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  3. ^ "1B ondergaat straks metamorfose met 12 ploegen en play-offs om promotie". (in Dutch). 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Nieuwkomer Dender EH opent opgefriste 'Challenger Pro League'". (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 28 June 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Eleven Sports wint de strijd om media-rechten Pro League, KAA Gent en Antwerp doen niet mee". Site-Sportmagazine-NL (in Dutch). 12 February 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2022.