Belgium: Condemned, Leopold Will Not Play the Semi-finals of the Playoffs

Recognized as guilty of having violated the rules by indirectly remunerating the Argentinian Federico Monja, the Uccle club, second in the classic phase, will have to settle for the play-offs.Article reserved for subscribers

A very hard blow for Tanguy Zimmer's Léopold: the Uccle club is condemned in the Monja affair and is deprived of the semi-finals of the Division d'Honneur.
A very hard blow for Tanguy Zimmer’s Léopold: the Uccle club is condemned in the Monja affair and is deprived of the semi-finals of the Division d’Honneur. – JASPER JACOBS/BELGA.

Lhe semi-finals of the competition in the Division d’Honneur will take place this weekend in a somewhat unusual climate. Indeed, several clubs have been in uncertainty for about ten days now following the Monja affair, which has shaken Belgian hockey for months. A story that finds its beginnings last October, when Leopold aligned, within its men’s team, the Argentinian international Federico Monja. A non-European recruit aligned with a tourist visa in the regular championship, which is not prohibited by the Belgian Federation, provided that it is not remunerated in any way (direct or indirect) whether for sports or any other work. But where the shoe pinches for eleven complainant clubs is that the South American would have received indirect benefits (the membership fee,

A complaint was therefore lodged and the Administrative Body of the Belgian Hockey Federation (ARBH) decided to refer the matter to the ARBH Public Prosecutor’s Office, which itself took the decision to refer the file to the Control Committee. . The second hearing took place this Wednesday evening, lasting more than two and a half hours and the judgment was rendered this Thursday at the end of the day. And he condemns the Leo to a package for all the matches played with the Argentinian, demoting the Brussels residents to tenth place and thus depriving them of the last four of the Division d’Honneur. . “The Control Committee has also decided to make this decision binding notwithstanding appeal, which means that the semi-finals of the playoffs will have to take place on the dates scheduled (Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1)”, indicates the press release of the Committee of control. Control.

Shaken semi-finals

A dramatic judgment for Leopold, who finished the linear competition in second place, and is therefore deprived of the 17 points won with the Argentine player on the score sheet. A decision that also upsets the last four and the posters scheduled for this weekend. The Waterloo Ducks, first at the end of the regular season, will finally face La Gantoise (which therefore finished in fourth place and which had continued training, all this week, pending the verdict) while Racing will finally find the Braxgata, new third, instead of rubbing shoulders with Leo.

The Uccle club, which now finds itself in a play-off position and which will have to face either Namur or Mechelen to secure its place in DH, should in principle not stop there. Before the verdict, Leopold had in any case announced his intention to appeal to the body dedicated to the Federation (he could then turn to the Belgian Court of Arbitration for Sport, the CBAS, if necessary) and d use all legal means to assert your rights.

Whatever happens, it is a complex and technical file which Belgian hockey would have done well, which had been on its little cloud since the Olympic title of the Red Lions, but which shows that there is still some way to go. perform to be irreproachable administratively and avoid repeating this type of situation in the future.

By Laurent Toussaint

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