UEFA’s Champions League plans thrown into doubt by France’s decision to ban football until September
- April 30, 2020
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On Tuesday, the France prime minister, Edouard Philippe, announced a ban on big sporting events until September.
UEFA had hoped to complete the Champions League in August, but France’s decision could now cause problems because Paris Saint-Germain are already through to the quarter-final.
Laurens told talkSPORT: “The last thing UEFA wanted was one of the big leagues, one of the leagues with still some clubs in Europe doing what has been done today.
“PSG are in the quarter-finals, do you do the draw to play in August like they had planned to do? PSG can’t play at home in August.
“Do PSG play both games away? One at a neutral ground and then the second away at the club they would face in the quarter-final.
“This is terrible for UEFA for many reasons.”
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Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 had hoped to resume training soon with a view to restarting the season in June.
Paris Saint-Germain currently hold a 12-point lead at the top, while Nimes, Amiens and Toulouse occupy the relegation spots.
Marseille and Rennes sit in the other two Champions League qualification spots, ahead of Lille and Reims in the Europa League places.
It will be up to the league to decide on what to do with the season now big sporting events cannot be played until September.
Laurens said: “The league, like I think every other league like the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga and Bundesliga had put their plans together and were hoping that the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs could start training again in May individually and then in small groups, like the Germans have been doing for a couple of weeks now.
“They were very hopeful to play behind closed doors in mid-June to late-June and for the last few days we’ve been hearing a few things from the Prime Minister saying something about football but we weren’t quite sure. Then this morning we heard he was going to announce that, not just football but rugby as well, there would be no sport until August. Actually it was until September.
“The league could put a plan together to resume this current season in September but I don’t see that happening and I think it’s the end of this current season and in May they will decide the champions and promotion and relegation.
“I just think that in the end the government thought ‘this is crazy to even think about playing football’ when we still have people dying in hospitals and hundreds of people with the virus who are intensive care. It is too risky.
“The players who I’ve spoken to in Ligue 1, in big clubs and small clubs, they fear they were going to be forced back too early and would be at risk of catching the virus. That it as not going to be safe.”