French leagues latest to cancel football season due to global pandemic

Football in France will not resume before September due to the global pandemic Picture Bradley Colly

Football in France will not resume before September due to the global pandemic Picture Bradley Collyer/PA - Credit: PA

France’s top two football divisions will cancel their current season after French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced on Tuesday afternoon no sporting events, even those behind closed doors, could take place before September.

The French game is now poised to follow the Dutch Eredivisie as the second major European league to abandon the domestic campaign.

City had January signing Melvin Sitti back on loan at previous club Sochaux, who were in the bottom half of Ligue 2.

In England, the Premier League and EFL have resolved to finish the league season when it is safe to do so, but the government will only review current lockdown measures in place across UK society again on May 7.

Norwich City and the rest of the top flight clubs will be represented remotely again at the latest scheduled shareholders’ meeting on Friday, after reports emerged in recent days of a plan, entitled ‘Project Restart’, which is being discussed with the intention of potentially returning as soon as June.

Germany’s football authorities announced their aim to resume the domestic leagues next month, following a meeting of all 36 professional clubs last week.

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French football officials had previously hoped teams could resume training within a fortnight after plans emerged earlier this month for the league to resume on June 17 and conclude on July 25.

Phillipe said: “The 2019-2020 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume.

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“It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing.

“It will not be possible, neither to practice sport in covered places, nor team or contact sports.”

Most teams in Ligue 1 have 10 games left to play this season, while Paris St Germain and Strasbourg have 11.

According to reports, the Ligue de Football Professionel (LFP) will meet next month to make final decisions over how to finalise the standings given not all teams have played the same number of games.

PSG lead the standings by 11 points from Marseille, with one point separating Rennes in third, which comes with a Champions League qualifying berth, from Lille in fourth place and a Europa League spot.

Amiens and Toulouse are in the bottom two, while Nimes sit 18th, a position which would ordinarily put them in a relegation play-off against a club from Ligue 2.

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