Thibault Camus/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
The 2019-20 Ligue 1 football season in France is to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that major sports fixtures – including those behind closed doors – will not be permitted in the country before September.
“All the big sporting and cultural events … that attract more than 5,000 participants won’t be able to return before September,” said Philippe, speaking in Parliament.
“The 2019/20 season of professional sport, notably football, won’t be able to return either.”
No official announcement has been issued by Ligue 1 or the Professional Football League (LFP).
UEFA has previously set a deadline of August 2 for domestic competitions in Europe to be completed.
The LFP had raised June 17 as a potential start date, while the French Football Federation (FFF) had hoped to announce dates for both men’s and women’s cup finals in the near future.
The Executive Committee of the FFF had already decided to put an end to all amateur football in France, as well as the national championships of National 3 and National 2.
The current standings as final?
Paris-Saint Germain were 12 points clear in 1st place in Ligue 1 when the competition was suspended on 13 March.
If the current standings are taken to decide “final” placings, PSG would be declared champions for a third consecutive year.
Similarly, third-placed Rennes would qualify for the UEFA Champions League by just one point, ahead of Lille.
They would be joined by Marseille, who are currently second.
Reims and Nice would also be in line for European football based on their current league position.
However, that could be deemed unfair on Strasbourg, who have played one game fewer than other teams and sit just three points behind Nice.
Nimes, Amiens and Toulouse would all be relegated.
In Ligue 2, Lorient and Lens are in the automatic promotion spot but there is a gap of just four points between the team top of the league and Clermont in fifth.
Elsewhere Lyon are ahead of Paris Saint-Germain by 3 points in Division 1 Féminine.
The FFF have stated that amateur football rankings in France would be decided on “quotient number of points obtained per game” to neutralise the effect of any postponed matches.
Any further level standings could be decided on the rules of each competition, which could include tiebreakers, if approved by the FFF.
UEFA have acknowledged that domestic league seasons across Europe may not be finished for “legitimate reasons” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and say national associations would need to select clubs to qualify for Europe in 2020-21.
Clubs have therefore been urged to “explore all possible options” to finish domestic seasons and use “a different format” if needed.
UEFA have stated that could “refuse or evaluate” selected teams if necessary.
Earlier this month the Belgian Pro League became the first in Europe to advocate cancelling the 2019-20 football season, while the Dutch Eredivisie has also been abandoned.