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UEFA Chief Says Premature End To French Season May Not Harm Lyon, PSG

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Updated June 17, 2020
This handout provided by UEFA shows UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin giving a press conference closing an executive Committee meeting at the UEFA headquarters on June 17, 2020 in Nyon. – The 2019-2020 Champions League, suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be completed in a ‘Final Eight’ in Lisbon in August, UEFA said. Harold Cunningham / UEFA / AFP.

 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said on Wednesday that the French football league’s decision in April, guided by the government, to end its season was premature.

“It’s the decision of the French League, the French Federation and of course the French authorities. My personal opinion is that the decision was brought quite early,” said Ceferin at a press conference on the plans for the resumption of European competitions.

UEFA announced that the Champions League will be completed in a ‘Final Eight’ in Lisbon in August.

Lyon, who still have to play their last-16 second leg tie against Juventus, and quarter-finalists Paris Saint-Germain are among 12 surviving teams.

With France’s Ligue 1 already ended, when Lyon attempt to defend their 1-0 lead over Juventus, either in Portugal or in Turin and probably on the weekend of August 7-8, the French club will not have played a match for almost five months.

PSG would return to action in the quarterfinal in Lisbon on August 12-15. They last played when they beat Borussia Dortmund on March 11.

In contrast, the 10 other clubs still in the Champions League all play in leagues that have resumed.

Ceferin said it was unclear if the French clubs would be harmed by their lack of domestic action.

“This season is very special, it will finish differently, so it is very hard to see what exactly is an advantage or disadvantage,” the Slovenian said.

The French League declared the 2019-2020 season over on April 30, two days after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a speech that the “2019-20 season of professional sports, particularly football, will not be able to resume”.

PSG were crowned champions. UEFA repeated on Wednesday that it wanted the names of clubs qualifying for next season’s European cup competitions as early as August 3.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, whose club will miss out on European football next season unless they win the Champions League, is challenging the way the French league ended in court.

AFP