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Standard Liege contemplate joining French league

Latest update : 2008-10-11

Luciano D'Onofrio, president of the Belgian title holders Stardard Liege, said he would try to join the French football league if Belgium's Flemish clubs decide to form a breakaway faction.

Champions Standard Liege will move to the French league if the Belgian Football Association allows Flemish clubs to form a breakaway faction, according to the country's media on Saturday.

"If a split happens Standard will have no choice but to emigrate to France," the club's vice-president, Luciano D'Onofrio, is quoted as saying.

"This is a first step, and a dangerous one," D'Onofrio said, reacting to threats from Flemish teams this week to form a splinter group.

"If the federation is dismantled, what will be left? The political crisis which is paralyzing the country is crossing over to football."

Belgium has around 10.5 million people, some 60 percent in Flanders, including 3.5 million people in French-speaking Wallonia and one million in the largely Francophone but officially bilingual region of Brussels.

Tensions have been rising since the general elections earlier this year, with Belgium's two largest communities unable to overcome their differences and form a government.

This week around 350 Flemish nationalist extremists protested in a town near Brussels, burning Belgian flags and calling for independence from Wallonia.

Date created : 2008-10-11

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