Professional football leagues in France have been brought to a halt with immediate effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Tuesday, April 28, that all sporting activities in the country cannot resume before September.
“The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019/20 football season cannot return.” Edouard told the nation.
Decisions on crowing champions, relegations and qualification for European places will reportedly be made in May at an LFP meeting.
There had been hope among clubs in Ligue and Ligue 2 that the campaign could be resumed on June 17 – with UEFA setting August 2 as the date for all domestic leagues to be completed.
However, the extension of France’s lockdown period has rendered that outcome impossible.
Ligue 1 becomes the first of Europe’s top five leagues to be cancelled and it remains to be seen whether it will be the last.
Germany’s Bundesliga are hoping to restart their season in May and are only awaiting government confirmation, while talks have continued about the
Premier League returning in June.
However, FIFA chief medical officer Michel D’Hooghe believes no leagues should be returning before August to prevent a second spike of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Everyone has to be very careful for the moment, he said as quoted by the Telegraph.
“I have heard in many countries they are thinking about playing football again, with or without the public.
“In my long career I have seen many situations where there has been a balance between economic and health. Mostly the economics won, whether that was about jetlag or football at altitude or in extreme conditions such as pollution situations.
“If there is one circumstance where medical arguments should win against economical arguments, it is now. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. It is very simple.”