The president of Olympique Lyonnais, Jean Michel Aulas, looks on during a press conference at the Groupama stadium in Decines-Charpieu near Lyon, central-eastern France , on February 13, 2020. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)
The coronavirus pandemic is a mystery to French football, and those responsible have currently no idea what the answer might be.
The idea of simply declaring the season over is becoming increasingly important in some areas, but others still strongly reject the proposal.
The top division and the second division have been banned for three weeks, with 10 rounds each to play, and many of the leading votes no longer insist that they be ended "at any cost".
"There is more uncertainty today," said the President of Lyon, Jean-Michel Aulas, an early supporter of the league ending and the European qualification basis for last season's final placements, which put his seventh-place team in the champions League would bring against L & # 39 ;. Equipe on Sunday.
He added the chances of "ending all games (are) lower".
His counterpart in Brest, Denis Le Sant, said in the same newspaper: "The season could not start again."
Amiens President Bernard Joannin, whose side is in 19th place in the table, agrees.
“Denis Le Saint has a very humane position that places everyone's health above everything else. This view is shared by many people in the world of football, ”Joannin told AFP.
“You have to understand that the only commander is COVID-19. Unfortunately, it sets the agenda. "
Others were outraged.
"We hope the league ends when it is possible. It really bothers me to see some people as a shame that football should be brought back to life at some point," said Pierre Wantiez, general manager of the Ligue 2 Le Havre, opposite AFP.
"It is a shame for me that some people are ashamed that football should be brought back to life at some point.
"I will not hide behind a veil of secrecy and say:" It is over, there is nothing we can do. "Let's wait before we say the season is dead."
"It is urgent to wait"
The situation confuses the leaders in the game.
The blockade in France was extended at least until April 15th.
Most clubs have hired employees, including players, on part-time contracts, and some of the league's foreign stars, including Brazilian Neymar, have gone home.
The channels Canal + and beIN Sports have suspended the payment of TV rights, the main source of income for the clubs.
In this context, the French league increases the frequency of its conference calls, but delays its decisions.
"Who can say today what will happen? We are preparing for everything. I think it is urgent to wait for the time being," said Olivier Delcourt, President of Ligue 1 Dijon, three points above relegation zone AFP.
Amiens & # 39; Joannin said he wants the league to follow government leadership.
"There is no point in talking and not saying anything," said Joannin.
"Let's take our time … We have to take a fortnight to see how things go."
The issue of television rights is being raised this week by a quartet of presidents led by Paris Saint Germain chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who is also director of beIN Media. Several sources confirm that negotiations with Canal + are planned.
The schedule depends on the decision of the French government when to end the ban and, to a lesser extent, on the decision of the governing bodies of world and European football, FIFA and UEFA.
FIFA needs to change the way the summer transfer market works, as players whose contracts end this season will become free agents in June. UEFA has been open about postponing its Champions League to the end of July or August so that domestic leagues can end, but has also threatened to block clubs from leagues that don't end.
Some officials argue that a "deadline" for the league to resume must be set quickly.
"A resumption of the season until the end of the world should not transfer the problem to the next championship," warned Wantiez.
More news about the new corona virus can be found here.
What You Need to Know About Corona Virus.
Further information on COVID-19 is available from the DOH hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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