With the German Bundesliga resuming next week and other leagues around Europe making preparations to restart after the coronavirus-induced suspension, could France end up regretting the decision to call an early end to its football season?
That is the fear of Jean-Michel Aulas, the outspoken president of Lyon who had hoped Ligue 1 could still be played to a conclusion despite last week’s announcement by the French Prime Minister that it “cannot restart” any time soon.
“Why rush into saying it’s difficult to play before August, when we don’t know if other countries are going to have the same judgement,” he told sports daily L’Equipe. “We should have done the political rounds of the other four major leagues.”
Instead, the French league ended the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed, crowning Paris Saint-Germain champions, relegating the bottom two, Amiens and Toulouse, and leaving Lyon seventh, denying them European qualification.
France is not alone. The Dutch season was abandoned, and Belgium is unlikely to restart.
In contrast, the Bundesliga will return on May 16, while Turkey, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia have set out resumption dates.
Portugal is on track to resume, and Spain hopes to restart next month. The Premier League is committed to finishing the season too, although the situation in Italy is less clear even if clubs have been given the green light to train again.
“The return of the Bundesliga is great news for the football industry,” said Javier Tebas, the president of Spain’s La Liga.
Speaking to L’Equipe,