Royal Belgian Football Association
The Royal Belgian Football Association (Dutch: Koninklijke Belgische Voetbalbond, KBVB; French: Union royale belge des sociétés de football association, URBSFA; German: Königlicher Belgischer Fußballverband, KBFV) is the governing body of football and futsal in Belgium. It is a founding member of the international federations FIFA (in 1904) and UEFA (in 1954). The association is based in Brussels, not far from the King Baudouin Stadium. As of 2015, it is presided over by chairman François De Keersmaecker.
The Royal Belgian Football Association organizes the Belgium men's, women's and youth national teams. It also runs the Belgian football league system, which includes the following competitions:
- First division A
- First division B
- First amateur division
- Second amateur division
- Third amateur division
- Provincial leagues
- Futsal competitions
- Women's competitions:
- Super League
- First Division
- Second Division
- Third Division
- From the 2012–13 through 2014–15 seasons, the federation partnered with its Dutch counterpart to operate a joint national league, the BeNe League. The two federations dissolved the joint league and reestablished their own top-level women's leagues.
- 1895–1924: Baron Edouard de Laveleye
- 1924–1929: Count Joseph d'Oultremont
- 1929–1937: Rodolphe William Seeldrayers
- 1937–1943: Oscar van Kesbeeck
- 1945–1951: Francis Dessain
- 1951–1967: Georges Hermesse
- 1967–1987: Louis Wouters
- 1987–2001: Baron Michel D'Hooghe
- 2001–2005: Jan Peeters
- 2006–2017: François De Keersmaecker
- 2017-present: Gérard Linard
Each year, the executive committee of the Belgian FA honours deserving people with awards.
These include (highest award first):
- Grand Order of the Baron de Laveleye, as of 2015 only given to five people (including former chairmen)
- Gold Medal, for honorary members serving 10 years
- Honorary Member, to certain international referees and chairmen (typically 40 years of service)
- Emeritus Member, to certain referees and chairmen (typically 30 years of service)
- Association Medal of Honour, to certain referees and chairmen (typically 20 years of service)
- Medal of Recognition, mostly given to national football team players with 35 caps, but also to players with 20 caps whose career stopped after injury and people who have performed an exceptional service to the RBFA.
In the summer of 1986, when the national men's A-selection reached the semifinals of the World Cup in Mexico, the football team started the project Casa Hogar under impulse of RBFA delegation responsible Dr. Michel D'Hooghe. This is a home for street children in the industrial Mexican city Toluca, to which the football players donated part of their tournament bonuses. During 25 years, the RBFA stayed committed with this project and helped 500 children to meals and education.
In recent years, the KBVB has been criticized by many observers and on many topics, including the building of the National Centre, the reform of the first division, the dismissal fee for national team manager René Vandereycken, and the decision of non-relegating teams convicted of cheating (including Verbroedering Geel several times).
- National Centre
After organizing UEFA Euro 2000 together with the Dutch association (KNVB), both federations decided to reinvest the reported profit of €10 million each in the development of youth players. The KBVB decided to invest half of the €10 million in building of a National Centre for football in Tubize. The first stone of the building, however, was not laid before 8 April 2005.
- The Geel – Namur promotion incident
At the end of 2006–07 season, the final of the third division final round was played between Namur and Verbroedering Geel, and won by Geel. However, the club did not receive its license and could not access to the second division, allowing Namur to be promoted. Geel eventually gained its license in appeal in front of the License Appeal Commission, a decision that Namur contested by asking a summary judgement from the court of Namur, in July 2007.
The tribunal of Namur cancelled the decision to grant the license to Geel, but did not allow Namur to play the second division. The Football Association subsequently announced that both clubs would play the third division in 2008–09. Both clubs then asked for a summary judgement, respectively in front of the courts of Namur and Turnhout.
On 7 September 2007, the court of Namur suspended the second and third division until a decision is taken. It was finally decided that both clubs would play the second division, with the consequence that a series of the third division would be played between 15 clubs (instead of 16) and the second division would be played between 19 clubs (instead of 18).
- The Geel incident (2006)
At the end of the 2005–06 season, a case of corruption during the 2004–05 season involving players of the club of Geel came to light. The Football Association decided that Geel, which qualified for the second division final round by finishing third in the second division, would not play the final round and would be replaced by Waasland. Geel subsequently went to court of Brussels and the justice allowed Geel to play the final round.
- "A BELGIAN BLUEPRINT: Story of how Michel Sablon changed Belgium into the team that they are today - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Belgian FA to launch stadium infrastructure agency". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Belgian FA official reveals secret of national side's success". dailyrecord. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "How Belgium found a winning formula for national team success". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Belgium — Developing World-Class Talent for Belgian Football". TheHardTackle.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Association Awards". RBFA. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Willems, Raf (12 Apr 2011). "25 jaar Casa Hogar: Rode Duivels voor straatkinderen in Mexico" (in Dutch). Stichting Meer Dan Voetbal Weblog.
- "DH.be – Tubize, ou la saga toujours inachevée". Dhnet.be. 21 March 2007.
- "DH.be – L'UR Namur en référé contre l'Union belge pour monter en D2". Dhnet.be. 13 July 2007.
- "DH.be – D2 – Le tribunal de Tunrhout ne se pronconce pas". Dhnet.be. 13 August 2007.
- "DH.be – Namur et Geel en D2". Dhnet.be.