Club Brugge president Bart Verhaeghe has been criticised for his recent comments about the relationship between Brighton & Hove Albion and Royal Union Saint-Gilloise.
Brugge were recently crowned champions in Belgium after a tightly fought title battle with Union throughout the campaign.
They had finished behind their rivals at the end of the domestic season but managed to beat them twice in the playoffs to turn the tide in their favour.
A 3-1 win over Royal Antwerp on Sunday then secured their third straight title and a place in next season’s Champions League.
Verhaeghe was interviewed after the success, in which he shared his delight and aimed a few shots at their rivals.
“I don’t see Union but Brighton on the pitch,” he said.
“If you are a business person in soccer, you see that it is about a club with much more resources than Club Brugge. Brighton is using Union for a bigger story.
“That’s why I’m happy that we’re winning the championship, that we’ve been rewarded for our bold and dominant soccer. This is also how we will continue to play soccer with Club Brugge.”
Those comments are in reference to the special relationship between Brighton and Union, who are both owned by Tony Bloom.
That’s seen the Belgian club benefit this season, signing the likes of Kacper Kozlowski and Kaoru Mitoma on loan, while Deniz Undav was also loaned back despite being signed by Brighton in January.
Those players have all played key roles in Union’s push for the title this season; something Verhaeghe seemingly isn’t happy about.
His comments have not gone down well in Belgium, though, with analyst Fillip Joos criticising him today.
“(They are) incomprehensible. He’s scored an own goal, which is not simple for a chairman,” Sporza report him saying.
“Because he is jealous of Union? If you finish second, I can understand it, but if you win? No, then you don’t have to be jealous anymore, do you?
“You will never hear the chairman of Manchester City say this. He will rather thank Liverpool for lifting his team one level higher.
“No, I can’t understand it from Verhaeghe. As a businessman, he must know that Union has one of the lowest budgets in the league. Verhaeghe should take his hat off to Union.”