France suspends football, other sporting events until September

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta

French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe has announced the suspension of professional football events in the country until September.

While announcing this on Tuesday April 28, 2020, Philipe stated that, “All events with a gathering of more than 5,000 people including sporting events would not be allowed until September.”

“The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019-20 football season cannot return,” said Philippe.

Since early of March matches in France have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving most clubs in the top flight with ten rounds of games to play.

For instance, the Coupe de France final is yet to be played between PSG and Saint-Etienne.

Due to this development, UEFA, the European football’s governing body, have asked the Ligue de Football Professionnel to meet next month and come up with their plans on restarting domestic and other competitions anto draw up plans for award qualifications on sporting events.

“National Associations and/or Leaguesshould be in a position to communicate to UEFA by 25 May 2020 the planned restart of their domestic competitions including the date of restart and the relevant competition format,” the body said in a statement.

“In the event that a domestic competition is to be prematurely terminated for legitimate reasons… UEFA would require the National Association to explain by 25 May 2020 the special circumstances justifying such premature termination and to select clubs for the UEFA club competitions 2020-21 on the basis of sporting merit in the 2019-20 domestic competitions,” the body added.

With this task ahead, the body would have to resolve the issues of Championship qualification, promotion and relegation. This might mean that a round of playoffs could be held or a point-per-game alternative could be used for the full table.

Speaking about the situation, the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, said, “We respect of course the French government decision.”

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