Club Brugge KV have sacked coach Jan Ceulemans as they attempt to arrest a slide out of European contention. Former RAA Louviéroise boss Emilio Ferrera has been installed as his replacement, signing a contract until June 2007.
Ceulemans and assistant René Verheyen were dismissed after a run of five points from six matches. Saturday's 4-1 defeat at KAA Gent leaves them clinging to third place – and automatic UEFA Cup qualification – by a single point from Gent, raising the prospect of a first season without UEFA club competition in 12 years.
Chairman Michel D'Hooghe said of decision: "This is one of the blackest days in my 34 years in football. We are not just saying goodbye to some employees, but to some friends. We hope that the bonds between us will continue to exist. This decision has not been taken lightly; it is something we have been contemplating for some time. We unanimously decided to appoint Jan Ceulemans and we have now unanimously decided to hand the role to Emilio Ferrera."
The 49-year-old succeeded Trond Sollied last summer after the Norwegian had led the team to the Belgian championship. Ceulemans had been in charge of KVC Westerlo since 1999, lifting the 2000/01 Belgian Cup. He was a Club Brugge legend as a player, spending 14 years at the Jan Breydelstadion until his retirement in 1992. As captain, he claimed three Belgian titles and two domestic cups, and was Belgian Player of the Year in 1980, 1985 and 1986.
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