Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has indicated that professional competitions (L1, L2, Top 14, Pro D2), suspended since mid-March, will not be able to go to completion.
“The 2019-2020 professional sports season will not be able to resume”: by excluding any restart before August, the French government forced football and rugby on Tuesday 28 April 2020 to accept the evidence of a historic end to their seasons.
Exposing his deconfinement plan, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe whistled the end of the game for professional competitions (L1, L2, Top 14, Pro D2) suspended since mid-March because of the coronavirus. Football and rugby joined basketball, handball and volleyball, which had already marked the definitive end of their season in circumstances never before seen in French sport since the Second World War.
👉 Interrompues en raison de l’épidémie de coronavirus, les saisons de Ligue 1 et de Ligue 2 ne reprendront pas avant le mois de septembre, comme expliqué Édouard Philippe pic.twitter.com/hxu7WOaAp3
— beIN SPORTS (@beinsports_FR) April 28, 2020
“The major sporting events (…), all the events which gather more than 5000 participants (…) cannot be held before September,” declared the Prime Minister before the deputies.
No competition “even behind closed doors”
The Ministry of Sports then told AFP that there could not be a competition “even behind closed doors” before the end of July, leaving open the possibility of holding certain matches in August. This could allow Lyon and Paris SG to finish their course in the Champions League in August, a hypothesis favoured by UEFA, the Parisian club even considering playing its quarter-final abroad if the sanitary situation forced it.
Il serait irresponsable de leur faire prendre le moindre risque.
Enfin, comme @EPhilippePM l’a dit, les manifestations sportives de plus de 5000 personnes sur un même lieu ne seront pas possibles jusqu’en septembre.
— Roxana Maracineanu (@RoxaMaracineanu) April 28, 2020
In the meantime, the horizon has suddenly been blocked for football, the king of sport in the land of world champions.
The President of the French Federation (FFF) Noël Le Graët has also taken note of the government opinion by declaring to the Breton daily Le Télégramme that Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 were “definitively stopped for the 2019-2020 season”, pending the final decision of the Professional Football League (LFP), which must meet its office Thursday and its general assembly in mid-May. The National 1 (3rd division) and the 1st female division, pending until then, also end.
Communiqué de la FFF pic.twitter.com/pys92Z0h3v
— FFF (@FFF) April 28, 2020
“A disaster area”
The hypothesis favoured by the Professional Football League (LFP), namely to resume Ligue 1 on June 17th in camera, and finish it on July 25th, is therefore obsolete, generating immense financial uncertainty for a sector very dependent on its TV rights.
Réuni ce mardi 28 avril, le Conseil d’Administration de la LFP a pris acte des déclarations du Premier ministre @EPhilippePM.
— Ligue de Football Professionnel (@LFPfr) April 28, 2020
For the time being, we will have to settle the question of the attribution of the title of champion (PSG occupied the first place before the suspension), that of the European places and the possible relegations.
And economic stability will be put to the test: “What about club finances? Six months without recipes, how do we do it? As tourism or air we are a disaster sector, it’s official now, “summed up the president of a Ligue 1 club with AFP, very worried.
1.16 billion euros in football losses
According to an estimate by the Ministry of Sports, the losses for the six major professional sports (football, rugby, cycling, handball, volleyball, basketball) amount to 1.45 billion euros in the event that the championships are not resumed. Including 1.16 billion euros for professional football alone (L1 and L2 clubs).
But for Sylvain Kastendeuch, co-president of the football union UNFP, it is a “responsible” decision. “The government has understood that the economic emergency should not take precedence over the public health imperative,” he reacted.
September, a new course for rugby
Regarding rugby, the decision clarifies the situation: the League, which had already validated the solution of a recovery in September, has almost marked the end of the 2019-2020 season.
The meeting of the thirty presidents of Top 14 and Pro D2 on Wednesday is only advisory and that of the steering committee, whose date has not yet been specified, should formalize the abandonment of the final stages, synonymous with the end of the season.
“The clubs are going to be alive for the next four months: we haven’t had any cash flow since March. There are certain government aid measures but we still have charges to fall, starting with the salaries of the players, the administrative staff… ”, deplored the general manager of the French stadium Thomas Lombard.
It remains to be decided whether Bordeaux-Bègles, the broad leader of the championship (61 points, eight more than the Lyonnais runner-up) on March 13th, will be sacred.
The Tour de France maintained?
The calendar presented by the government nevertheless preserves the hopes of the Tour de France cycling race, rescheduled from August 29th to September 20th.
For cycling, the gauge set at a maximum of 5000 people for sporting events mainly affects the Dauphiné and the start of the Tour.
The Dauphiné, the preparatory race for the Tour, must take place in August in the calendar currently being studied by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The Tour is supposed to start on August 29 in Nice, and only the first three stages are concerned with the 5,000 people.