Lyon President Demands Ligue 1 Restart as Every Other Top League in Europe Plans to Resume Season

Ligue 1 has been canceled since April 30, due to the coronavirus but if Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas has his way, the decision would be reversed and play would resume in July.

After the news of the Premier League’s plan to resume play on June 17, Aulas took to Twitter to demand that the French top-flight reverse their decision.

“The Premier League will therefore restart on June 7 [actually, June 17]. @OL @Matigon @RoxaMaracineanu Madame Minister allow us to resume training from June 2 and then play behind closed doors from July, 15 days after the English and all the others.”

If the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) and the French government go along with Aulas’ idea, it would set off a chain of events. For one, Paris Saint-Germain would have their ninth Ligue 1 championship revoked, and teams who thought they qualified for European competition next season would now have to play the final 10 matches of the season and hope they can maintain their place in the table.

Aulas is fighting for Ligue 1 to resume play because his team, Lyon, are on the outside looking in when it comes to European competition next season. The financial implications of the pandemic combined with losses of not playing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will be devastating and likely force them to sell their best players.

In addition to the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga both plan to return to the pitch in the coming weeks. As you know, the Bundesliga has already returned and played two rounds of matches. Ligue 1 is the only one of the top five European leagues to shut things down.

If you set aside Aulas’ selfish reasons for wanting to restart the league, the fact remains that every team in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 is hurting because of the lack of football. Broadcasters have stopped payments and Aulas estimates that French clubs could face losses of €700 million to €900 million.

For PSG, relinquishing the title may not be a bad trade-off for the possibility to play competitive matches again leading up to the Champions League, which is expected to start back up again in August. A five-month layoff between matches, while your opponent has had weeks to get into a rhythm, is not ideal.

Ligue 1 football this summer is a long-shot but you have to respect Aulas for trying. As things stand now, the 2020-21 season will start on August 23.

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Tags coronavirus Ligue 1 Olympique Lyonnais
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