Koninklijke Racing Club Genk, usually known more simply as Genk, was founded in 1988 as a result of a merger between two previous Belgian club sides, KFC Winterslag and Waterschei Thor. Despite their relative youth, Genk have quickly emerged as one of the richest and most successful clubs in the country.
Upon its creation, the new team took KFC Winterslag's position in the top league, but soon suffered relegation to the second division. After bouncing between the two divisions, they have now been playing top flight football continuously since the 1996–97 season. From the late 1990s onwards, Genk have enjoyed remarkable success in the First Division.
The 1998-99 season saw Genk win their first ever league title, finishing two points ahead of Club Brugge. As a result, they also qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Subsequent league titles followed in 2001–02 and 2010–11, taking their total number of championship wins up to three. They have entered the Champions League four times in total, reaching the group stage of the competition in 2002 and 2011. In 1997–98, 1999–00 and 2008–09, Genk lifted the Belgian Cup, adding to their recent haul of domestic silverware. In 2011, they also won the Belgian Supercup for the first time.
Some of the club's most notable players have included Branko Strupar, Wesley Sonck and Jelle Vossen. Genk have also quickly become known for the excellent quality of their youth academy. Some of the better-known players to emerge from the club's academy include Steven Defour, Christian Benteke and Thibaut Courtois.
Genk have played their home games at the Cristal Arena since its opening in 1999. The ground was previously known as Fenix Stadion and is able to hold a maximum of 25,000 supporters. However, this capacity is reduced to 21,500 for matches in UEFA competitions.