Ligue 1 season canceled, no sports in France until September

28.4.2020 15:28

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French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Tuesday that there will be no sporting events in the country, even behind closed doors, before September, thus ending the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons.

"The 2019-20 season, notably for football, will not be able to resume," Philippe said.

Ligue 1 becomes the second major European league to cancel the 2019-20 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic after the Dutch Eredivisie did so last week.

Philippe's decision was part of an announcement outlining the schedule for the end of the six-week national lockdown to MPs in the Assemblee Nationale. Philippe also said France would scale up testing to 700,000 a week, as schools and retailers gradually reopen to prevent further economic damage.

The General Assembly of the French professional league (LFP) will meet in May to decide what Philippe's announcement means for leaders Paris Saint-Germain, as well as relegations, promotions, and European places, according to a report from RMC Sport's Mohamed Bouhafsi.

A decision from the LFP would be in line with UEFA's announcement earlier Tuesday that advised its 55 member associations to submit plans for the completion of their seasons by May 25. The European governing body's briefing leaves the selection of spots in next season's continental competitions up to the respective leagues.

As it stands, PSG boast a 12-point lead atop the table, while second-place Marseille holds the second automatic Champions League berth. Third-place Rennes, who were enjoying a historically great season, would nab a Champions League qualifier, while Lille would automatically qualify for the Europa League, with the two other entrants in the competition pending the results of the French Cup and League Cup finals.

Should the LFP choose to mimic the Dutch league's decision to void the campaign and not award a winner, or promotion or relegation spots, Toulouse would be offered a massive lifeline. Les Pitchouns sit bottom of Ligue 1 on 13 points with just three victories in 28 matches, a distant 14 points adrift of a relegation playoff tie with Nimes.

Philippe's decision comes days after the LFP released a statement claiming that players would return to their clubs for "full medical checkups" starting May 11 in hopes of resuming league play on June 17.

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet further raised hopes, proposing that the two cup finals could be contested in June prior to the resumption of the league campaign.

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