French Ligue 1 cancelled until September 2020, says French PM


All professional football activities in France has been cancelled until the end of the summer due to the coronavirus restrictions, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday.
The French government made this announcement to unveiled its plans to gradually end the lockdown in France from May 11.
This immediate move makes the completion of the 2019-2020 Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football seasons and Top 14 rugby union campaign appear increasingly unlikely.
Speaking after the announcement, the country’s sports minister revealed to AFP that sporting activities 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.
In an address to the National Assembly, Philippe said: "The 2019-2020 professional sports leagues, notably football, cannot yet restart."
"I would like to be precise here, no large sports gathering or any gathering of 5,000 people or more, needing the permission of the local police and long prior arrangements, will be allowed before September," Philippe added.
It was earlier reported that Ligue 1 had map out its intention to resume matches in June, with players being recalled to training as of May 11. The French football league is expected to hold a teleconference on Thursday to decide what to do next.
Noel Le Graet, the president of the French Football Federation, said that he thinks the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons are "over".
"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."
From all indications, If the season is abandoned, it begs the question of which teams would qualify for next season's Champions League and Europa League and whether teams would be relegated.
The Dutch football federation last week became the first in Europe to call an end to its season, with no team declared champions and promotions and relegations scrapped.
The Belgian Pro League is expected to follow suit, although other leagues are still hoping to resume, with the German Bundesliga planning for a possible return in mid-May.
The Tour de France is set to go ahead, though, albeit with restrictions on the number of spectators.
Organisers have already moved cycling's showpiece event from its traditional mid-summer slot and it is now scheduled to start in Nice on August 29.
Around 23,000 people have died so far of coronavirus-linked illnesses in France.
Schools and shops will re-open in May but restaurants and bars will remain closed for now, as will large museums, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

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