Ligue 1 has been forced to CANCEL the 2019/20 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic.
French football bosses will reportedly meet in May to determine whether to enact promotion and relegation as well as which teams can qualify for next season’s European competitions. But restarting sport any time soon has been deemed infeasible by the country’s government.
With 23,293 confirmed deaths from 165,842 cases of Covid-19, France has been one of the worst-affected regions by the pandemic, much like the United Kingdom where 157,149 tests have returned positive with 21,092 people known to have died.
On Tuesday afternoon, French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced that all sporting events will be cancelled until September. And RMC report on Ligue 1 preparing to decide on the fate of clubs across the top tiers next month.
Like several other European countries including the UK and Italy, French sides had hoped to return to training in May with a view to completing the season in June. However authorities have banned ANY sporting events taking place, even behind closed doors.
The September deadline now set may not allow Paris Saint-Germain to finish their Champions League campaign with the capital club already in the quarter-finals before the touted return of the competition for August.
PSG are also 12 points clear in the Ligue 1 title race and it remains to be seen whether they will be rewarded for their efforts. Marseille and Rennes sit in the other two Champions League qualification spots, ahead of Lille and Reims in the Europa League places.
Uefa have asked leagues to come up with their own plans to award European qualification places on “sporting merit”, meaning a full table completed on points-per-game or even a round of play-offs. The vast majority of clubs still have ten games left to play in addition to the Coupe de France final, between PSG and Saint-Etienne.
Nimes, Amiens and Toulouse occupy the Ligue 1 relegation spots, the latter having won just three of 28 games all season.
In Ligue 2, a tight promotion race has Lorient leading Lens before Ajaccio, Troyes and Clermont Foot sit in the three play-off positions – the top-five altogether separated by just five points. While countries looking to complete the season this summer may begin 2020/21 at a later date, this decision could open the door to a regular start for French football next season.
News of Ligue 1’s demise came as plans to ease the country’s lockdown were detailed when prime minister Philippe addressed the nation on Tuesday evening. The French game joins the Netherlands’ Eredivisie in ending early after the Dutch top-flight called it a day last week.
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