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The surprising decision to suspend the French league


On the same day the Spanish government outlined their plans to reduce lockdown restrictions, with plans to finish the current LaLiga season also very much under consideration, the French government confirmed that no professional sports could be conducted in the country until September, which in essence concluded the current Ligue 1 campaign. I recently wrote about the collective desire among Europe's top five leagues to finish their respective campaigns with both Champions and Europa League games to be played in August. The French decision is a bolt from the blue coming as both a surprise and also it could be argued as a somewhat hasty decision. The focus now falls on the other four competitions (Premier League, Serie A, LaLiga and the German Bundesliga) as to see what line of action they propose.

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French decision

My friend and journalist Frédéric Hermel observed that the position of the player's union may have been instrumental in the decision. I remember the words of Juan Cueto, my boss at Canal + in the 90s working alongside Michael Robinson, who claimed that the principal hypothesis is the one never mentioned. That could be the case here with the main reason being that for many it suits the season to finish as things stand in France. Clubs will be hoping that relegation will be wavered with other clubs happy with their possible places in European competition next season. These clubs will face those who feel they should be promoted and those who feel they could have had a tilt at the title. The former greatly outnumber the latter so the process to drive this policy through is somewhat easier.

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The decision taken in France has created further division in Italy over how the Serie A campaign should conclude. In Spain plans are still afoot to resume LaLiga games in June with video conference calls ongoing between team captains, medical experts with a wide range of varying opinions being the common denominator. The recent Spanish government decision in outlying the various steps back to a 'new normal' do provide room to believe that games commencing on 15 June and finishing at the end of July (behind closed doors) with European competitions to be staged in August is feasible. Paris Saint-Germain are still in the Champions League and have touted the idea of playing their home games overseas with the club having to resume activity at some point to ensure they are match-ready for August.