Coach Frank Vercauteren has parted company with RSC Anderlecht after a 2-0 defeat on Sunday left the champions seven points off the lead in Belgium.
An official statement read: "By mutual agreement, the RSC Anderlecht board and Frank Vercauteren have agreed to terminate their contract with immediate effect." Promoted from assistant coach following Hugo Broos's dismissal in February 2005, the 51-year-old coach won Belgian titles in 2006 and 2007, but a 2-0 reverse at KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen left Anderlecht fourth in the table, seven points behind leaders Club Brugge KV.
'A new low'
"We have to do something," said Anderlecht chairman Roger Vanden Stock on Sunday. "This is a new low. And we can hardly keep on hoping that it is only temporary." Anderlecht had earlier bowed out of the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, losing to Fenerbahçe SK, before taking four points from two UEFA Cup group stage games to date. Their 1-1 draw at Aalborg BK last Thursday followed the Brussels team's 2-0 victory over Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC, leaving them top of Group G.
Vercauteren achieved legendary status at Anderlecht as a player between 1966 and 1987 – the midfielder landing four league titles, two Belgian Cups, two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, one UEFA Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. He was Belgian Player of the Year in 1983. It was originally planned that Vercauteren would become the club's technical director when he ended his coaching career, but that is now in doubt.
Meanwhile, 54-year-old Ariël Jacobs has been put in charge until the end of the season, having been Vercauteren's assistant since the summer. He was previously coach at R. Excelsior Mouscron, KSC Lokeren OV, RAA Louviéroise and RWD Molenbeek, and also worked as technical director at KRC Genk.
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