Divided Beliefs Over Ligue 1 Fate After French PM’s Announcement, League Delays Decision

Home » Sports » Divided Beliefs Over Ligue 1 Fate After French PM’s Announcement, League Delays Decision

Paris: French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet said on Tuesday he thinks the Ligue 1 season is over due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had announced the competition could not resume until September.

France’s sports ministry told AFP after Philippe’s speech that sports fixtures could not take place even behind closed doors before the end of July, leaving open the possibility that some matches could still be played in August.

“We informed the executive board, what it already knew, that Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 will not start, that the National (third tier) will not start or the Women’s D1 either,” Le Graet told Brittanny-based newspaper Le Telegramme.

“These four competitions are definitively over for the 2019-2020 season,” he added.

The French league (LFP), which runs the top flight and the second tier, which have been on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak since mid-March, are meeting on Thursday to draw its conclusions from the government’s announcement.

The FFF said later they had asked the LFP to finish the two league seasons.

Le Graet said two sides instead of three will be promoted from Ligue 2 with the same amount of clubs going in the opposite direction.

LYON PRESIDENT ‘NOT SURE’ SEASON IS OVER

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas on Tuesday said that he was “not sure” the Ligue 1 season would be cancelled, despite French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe saying that professional football could not be played in the country until September.

Earlier on Tuesday, Philippe said that the “2019-20 professional sports leagues, notably football, cannot restart”.

However, France’s sports ministry told AFP after the speech that sports fixtures could not take place even behind closed doors before the end of July, leaving open the possibility that some matches could still be played in August.

Aulas thinks more league matches could still be played, with even a series of play-offs to decide European places and relegation a possibility.

“Does this mean the championship is over? I’m not sure,” the often outspoken Aulas told AFP.

“Since the championship is not finished, I think that it’s necessary to do everything to find an alternative solution, by playing a certain number of play-offs during the month of August or postponing next season until September 15.”

Lyon sit seventh in the Ligue 1 table, 10 points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots held by runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Rennes.

European football’s governing body UEFA last week said that countries completing their domestic leagues remained “the ideal scenario” and urged leagues to find ways of restarting “with a different format”, possibly play-offs.

The French league is due to meet on Thursday to discuss the effects of Philippe’s announcement.

“UEFA wants the competitions to end. They would have liked the championships to end at the beginning of August,” added Aulas.

“I think we will have to wait a little more for the league which will meet the end of the week… which will be able to decide on the final end of the 2019-2020 season.”

LIGUE 1 DELAYS DECISION ON SEASON FATE

The French league (LFP) said on Tuesday its executive board will meet on Thursday to discuss the effect of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s earlier announcement about cancelling the season.

Philippe said professional football and other sports in France cannot resume until September because of coronavirus restrictions.

France’s sports ministry told AFP after Philippe’s speech that fixtures could not take place even behind closed doors before the end of July, leaving open the possibility that some matches could still be played in August.

A source told AFP that sports minister Roxana Maracineanu had confirmed the later announcement with club directors from Ligue 1 outfits.

LFP’s administrative council will meet at a later date and are set to formally cancel the campaign before calling a general meeting where the end of season standings will be decided.



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