Lyon again urges Ligue 1 to resume


Lyon has again pleaded with the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) to reverse its decision to abandon the 2019-2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Les Gones and Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas have been among the most ardent decriers of the LFP ending the campaign, which was confirmed on 30 April, and intend to take their appeal to the Council of State.

The LFP announced table positions were to be decided by virtue of points per game, meaning Paris Saint-Germain was crowned champion, Marseille and Rennes qualified for the UEFA Champions League, and Toulouse and Amiens were relegated.

Lyon, one of several teams to threaten legal action over the premature conclusion, previously warned that French clubs face accumulative losses of €900 million ($1.5 billion) and potential bankruptcy without ending the season on the pitch.

After Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday gave LaLiga the green light to resume from 8 June, Lyon have again urged the French authorities to reconsider.

In a lengthy statement that was initially set out as a message of congratulations to LaLiga and its president, Javier Tebas, Lyon said: "Javier Tebas explained since LaLiga's suspension how a permanent stop would be a very large economic and social disaster for Spanish football, which he estimated at €1 billion in the event of a permanent stop but 'only' € 300 million in the event of a recovery [behind closed doors].

"Olympique Lyonnais hopes that the example of Spain coming after that of Germany [the Bundesliga returned behind closed doors last weekend] will make it possible to reconsider the decision taken in France too hastily.

"We can reasonably imagine the position of the coaches and players of the French championship is today much more favourable to a resumption of competition than during the UNFP [France's players union] poll of 23 April or when Didier Deschamps told president Emmanuel Macron on 27 April of his reluctance and fears for the health of the players."

Lyon added that a failure to resume the season will have competitive consequences for itself and PSG in the UEFA Champions League.

"Beyond the economic catastrophe that will hit the French championship hard, the most successful French clubs still in the [UEFA] Champions League will find themselves at a disadvantage during the European matches," the statement continued. "PSG and Lyon, both still committed with their two teams, female and male, will be penalised against opponents who will have benefited from the resumption of their championship.

"Lyon calls on president Emmanuel Macron to support the spirit of a France that reacts to its European competitors. Thanks to the relevance and efficiency of its citizens, France has pushed back the pandemic to allow the controlled resumption of training and tomorrow we hope to compete, as is the case in almost all the others European countries.

"The decision taken in a rush on April 30 can be offset today in the eyes of the French if we know how to recognise that nothing is ever final by adopting the most appropriate solution in the interest of French professional football and therefore France."

Over 182,000 people in France have contracted COVID-19, but the daily death toll was down to 74 on Saturday (AEST).