Could Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour force Lyon to move Ligue 1 relegation playoff?
Currently rooted to the bottom of Ligue 1, seven-time French champions Lyon could end up in a relegation playoff that would clash with a Swift concert.
Lyon’s disastrous season could be heading towards a bizarre double-booking - if the Ligue 1 club end up in a playoff to avoid relegation.
Currently bottom of the 18-team French top flight, the seven-time domestic champions would automatically drop into Ligue 2, France’s second tier, as things stand. However, were they to finish 16th in the table, Lyon would go into a playoff against a Ligue 2 team for the right to be a first-division side next season.
Playoff 2nd leg would clash with Swift Groupama date
Held over two legs, the relegation-promotion tie will pit Ligue 1′s third-worst team against the winners of a three-way playoff series involving the third, fourth and fifth-placed finishers in the second division. After the first leg, set for Thursday 30 May 2024, the second leg is to be held on Sunday 2 June 2024, with the Ligue 1 team guaranteed home advantage in the return.
That would present Lyon with a delicate scheduling issue, which was raised in the French media this week by the newspaper Le Progres: the club’s home stadium, Groupama Arena, is already due to hold a Taylor Swift concert on the day of the second leg.
Swift’s Eras Tour, whose worldwide leg began in August this year in Mexico City, is scheduled to visit several European countries between May and August 2024, with Groupama Arena slated to stage two shows, on 2 and 3 June.
Were Lyon to go into the relegation-promotion playoffs, the club would, it seems, be left in a furious tug-of-war with the organisers of the Swift concert. Such a conflict could, in the worst-case scenario for Les Gones, force them to play the second leg elsewhere.
Lyon confident Swift situation won’t arise
However, although Lyon are presently deep in relegation trouble, the club say they are not worried about a potential clash of dates with the 12-time Grammy winner. They have told media outlets in France that they expect to turn their season around and be well clear of the drop zone by the time the campaign is over.
Having won just one Ligue 1 game all season, Lyon sit six points adrift of safety, and five points off the playoff spot. They are now onto their third head coach this term, with Pierre Sage taking interim charge in the wake of last week’s sacking of Fabio Grosso, who himself had replaced Laurent Blanc in September.
The winners of seven straight French league titles between 2002 and 2008, Lyon last played in Ligue 2 back in the 1988/89 season.