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French Ligue 1 season canceled due to COVID-19

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French government announces ban on sporting events until September

Coronavirus - Sport outdoor Photo by Johnny Fidelin/Icon Sport via Getty Images

While others trend towards reopening — Bundesliga back in training, Serie A and the Premier League look set to follow — football in France will not be returning until September at the earliest.

This morning, the French Prime Minister announced a ban on all sporting events until September 1, calling out football specifically. While the government plans to start easing lockdown restrictions next month, large scale gatherings will not be possible for some time yet in order to prevent a second large outbreak.

“The 2019-20 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume.

“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.”

-Edouard Philippe; source: BBC

France is thus the second league to cancel the 2019-20 season due to COVID-19, after the Netherlands last Friday. Belgium still haven’t ratified that cancelation of their season, postponing the vote on it to next week.

It’s not yet clear how Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 will handle final standings (there are only minor differences between points and points-per-game for European places) or the issue of promotion and relegation — they will be meeting shortly to decide. While it seems easiest to do what the Eredivisie had done, and not award a champion or move any clubs around, the leaders of the Dutch second division, SC Cambuur are already threatening a lawsuit over that decision.

There are no decisions here that will make everyone happy unfortunately.