LFP asserts control over French football recovery

Renato Jr Luz Sanches of Lille OSC controls the ball against Lucas Tousart of Olympique Lyonnais during their Ligue 1 match (by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

The French Football League (LFP) has formed three working groups to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, stating it is the “priority objective” to end the 2019-20 domestic season by June 30, or July 15 at the latest.

The LFP staged a teleconference yesterday (Monday) which included officials from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs, and Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation (FFF).

The meeting came after French newspaper L’Équipe reported that several major Ligue 1 clubs had formed their own working group on Friday to address the economic challenges presented by the pandemic.

Le Graët last week expressed his desire for the Ligue 1 season to run until at least July 15 to ensure all domestic leagues in Europe are completed. Earlier in the week, the LFP suspended all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches with immediate effect “until further notice” due to the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Uefa, football’s European governing body, on March 17 postponed its 2020 European Championship by 12 months in a bid to help domestic competitions across Europe be completed. The move will also give Uefa time to finish its own Champions League and Europa League club competitions.

Officials in Italy and Spain have expressed hope that their respective Serie and LaLiga competitions may be able to restart in May.

In a statement issued following yesterday’s meeting, the LFP stressed that it will be the steering committee for “all of the actions and reflections” undertaken by professional football to deal with the crisis. To do this, it will form three working groups focusing on recovery plans and scenarios, short-term cash injections and financing, and social dialogue.

The LFP added: “At a time of general mobilisation, the LFP Bureau calls on all the players in the professional football ecosystem, clubs, players, coaches and also broadcasters, to show their unity and solidarity to get through this unprecedented crisis.”