How to do a deal in Belgium

Football is extremely important in Belgium and is one of the most popular sports in the country. Belgium has a rich footballing history and has produced numerous talented players who have achieved success both domestically and internationally. The national team, known as the Red Devils, currently ranked 3th on the FIFA ranking, is highly followed and celebrated.

Belgium has currently around 400,000 registered football players. This includes players of all ages and levels, from amateur to professional. The popularity of football is evident in the large number of clubs, extensive youth programs, and the passionate fan base that supports both local clubs and the national team.

Belgium is a league that, in terms of level, sits just below the top 5 leagues in Europe. The earning model for all Belgian clubs revolves around developing or acquiring young talented players with the goal of nurturing them and selling them to clubs in the top 5 leagues. 

Since the season 2023-2024, the league moved from 18 to 16 teams in the 1st Division A, known as the Jupiler Pro League. Consequently, last season there where teams 3 relegated and 1 promoted team from 1B. Afterwards, the „old“ system will be reinstated, where Play-off I consists of 6 clubs that start a separate competition with half of the points from the regular season. Play-off II will also be revived, for teams ranked 7th to 12th, who also begin their competition with halved points. Finally, the last 4 teams will play in a relegation play-off to determine who moves down to 1B. The bottom 2 teams from this play-off will automatically be relegated. A 3rd team can also be relegated, but this requires a play-off against the 3rd place team from 1B. Despite some teams that already wanted to change it, this will also be the format for the upcoming 2024-2025 season. Also the second division format is created with the goal of developing young talented players. With Club NXT, Jong Genk, and the RSCA Futures, you have currently three top teams whose second teams are playing professionally to give (foreign) players time to gain experience while adapting to the culture and possible language barrier. This is something to consider for a football agent when evaluating a Belgian team. The league is contested by sixteen teams. The competition is played over 30 matchdays in a home-and-away format. The top two teams in the standings of the regular season are promoted to First Division A. Teams ranked 3rd to 6th compete in play-offs following a knockout system. The winner of these play-offs qualifies for a play-off match against the second-place team from the relegation play-offs of First Division A. The U23 teams are considered regular clubs and can therefore be relegated and promoted as usual, provided they always play in one division lower than their parent club. For example, the second team of Standard Liege, named SL16, has been relegated last season and will play in the upcoming season in Belgians third division. U23 teams cannot be promoted to First Division A and cannot participate in the play-offs. If a U23 team finishes in the top 6, it will be replaced by the next highest-ranked traditional club in the overall standings.

One significant advantage Belgium enjoys is its flexible regulations regarding the employment of non-European footballers. In Belgium, these players must be paid a minimum salary of €90,000. In comparison, in the Netherlands, a non-European player must earn €500,000 (or €250,000 for players under 21 years old), highlighting the significant competitive edge Belgian clubs enjoy. This is precisely why so many players from Africa, Asia, and the Americas are currently active in Belgium.

This competitive edge not only allows Belgian clubs to attract diverse talents from around the world but also enhances the league’s reputation as a nurturing ground for young, promising players. The influx of international players adds a rich blend of playing styles and skills, contributing to the overall quality and excitement of the league. Additionally, the lower financial barrier makes it easier for clubs to invest in scouting and development, ensuring a steady pipeline of talent. This strategic advantage positions the Belgian league as a key stepping stone for players aspiring to reach Europe’s top football echelons.


The Belgian Pro League’s emphasis on physicality and intensity sets it apart as one of Europe’s most demanding football environments. Its rigorous training regimens, competitive matches, and focus on developing physically robust players have earned it a reputation as a breeding ground for top-tier talent. For football agents, this knowledge is invaluable in preparing their clients, enhancing their market value, and strategically managing their careers. For players and fans alike, the league offers a thrilling blendof athleticism, strategy, and sheer determination, solidifying its place in the broader landscape of European football.

The Belgian Football Scandal “Propere Handen” and Its Impact on Football Agents. Propere Handen (translated as „Clean Hands“) refers to a significant football scandal in Belgium that came to light in October 2018. while there were no direct measures explicitly reducing commissions solely because of the scandal, the broader reforms and increased scrutiny have likely affected the business environment for football agents in Belgium

In addition to the FIFA license that has been effective since 2023, any agent wishing to conduct activities in Flanders, Wallonia, or the Brussels-Capital Region must adhere to the statutory obligations applicable. Since June 11, 2019, agents operating in the Flemish Region and representing (potentially) paid athletes as labor intermediaries must be registered with the Flemish Government. In addition to this registration, They are required to provide a deposit of €25,000 with a financial institution or insurer as a regulatory measure to promote professionalism, protect players‘ interests, and ensure the integrity of the football industry. Especially in Flanders, which currently represents the majority of football clubs in our top league, it may be advantageous for foreign agents to collaborate with a local football intermediary so that they can make use of the deposit established by the Belgian agent.

Being a football agent in Belgium is a multifaceted role that requires a blend of talent scouting, legal knowledge, negotiation skills, and cultural sensitivity. The country’s favorable regulations and strategic position in European football present unique opportunities for agents to thrive. However, success in this field demands diligence, strong networking, and a deep understanding of the football landscape both in Belgium and globally.


Erkut Sogut & Matthieu Struyf

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