France cancels the football season; other leagues plan to play


French Ligue 1 became the second major European football league to abandon its season due to the COVID-19 epidemic when the country’s Prime Minister announced on Tuesday that all sporting events would be banned until September.

France is expected to lift a national lockout on May 11 and the first and second division teams were hoping to resume training soon after, aiming to resume their seasons in mid-June. But Prime Minister Edouard Philippe put an end to this speculation.

“The 2019-2020 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume,” he said in a speech to the National Assembly. “It will not be possible, neither to play sports in covered places, nor team or contact sports. “

Dutchman Eredivisie canceled the rest of his season last week after the Netherlands government extended the ban on major public events for three months. Belgian clubs postponed a vote on the cancellation of football in this country on Monday. This vote is expected next week.

The German Bundesliga, meanwhile, hopes to resume play in empty stadiums next month, although the plan is awaiting government approval. Many public health officials are opposed to this idea.

In England, the return of the Premier League has already won government support. The 20 EPL clubs have scheduled a conference call on Friday to discuss options for ending the last 92 league games of the season, which will likely begin in mid-June.

The Spanish La Liga has set May 11 as the day on which teams can resume training. If matches resume there, they will be played in empty stadiums until December. In Italy, players were allowed to resume individual training next week and team training on May 18. It is hoped that the season could resume between May 27 and June 2 and end in early August, as no official announcement has been made.

Philippe’s announcement ended the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons on Tuesday as well as the rest of Women’s Division 1, the most popular French women’s league. The premature end of the women’s tournament came less than 10 months after France hosted the Women’s World Cup.

Matches in France were suspended by the coronavirus epidemic in early March. France was one of the countries most affected by the pandemic.

At the start of the closure, officials from several French teams wondered if they could survive financially. Among the top five European leagues, Ligue 1 has the least lucrative broadcasting contract. But last week, two of these broadcast partners, BeIN Sports and Canal +, threw a lifeline to these teams by agreeing to pay the league part of the $ 140 million in TV rights they had withheld during of the season suspension.

The Professional Football League (LFP), which manages football in France, is expected to meet next week to resolve issues such as promotion and relegation, as well as qualification for the Champions and Europa league tournaments.

Paris Saint-Germain are 12 points ahead of Marseille at the top of the table after 27 games. Rennes, one point ahead of Lille in third position, currently occupies third place in the Champions League. Toulouse in the cellar, 10 points from the rest of the league, could avoid relegation despite a terrible season.

In Ligue 2, five teams separated by only four points with 10 games to play to climb to the top. In the women’s league, unbeaten Lyon led PSG by three points after 16 games.


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