JEAN-PAUL SAVART / AIPS: French professional football will not receive TV rights for matches which no longer take place.

Taken aback, the clubs fall into technical unemployment. Although paying public money to football stars may seem immoral when caregivers are helpless against the Coronavirus, the situation is clear.

Stupor and trembling in the world of French professional football: Canal+ and BeIn Sport will no longer pay the professional football league (LFP) the € 152,000,000 they would have paid on April 5, 2020. The two encrypted channels share until the end of the season the retransmissions rights for the premier league; (780 million euros for the period of 2016-2020).

The LFP asked the cable channels to honor their contract until the end of the period, despite the crisis on behalf of the sacred football union.

The two broadcasting channels replied that they did not have to pay for matches that would no longer take place.

Deprived of retransmission, they themselves find themselves in an alarming financial situation. No matches, no broadcasts, no money… The professional league offered Canal + and BeIn Sport the possibility to draw from its archived collector match reruns with no charge.

The league did not expect that the two cable channels would refuse this offer.

After an urgent meeting of the club’s leaders, they seem to have agreed on the absolute need to resume the current championship. The LFP wants the championship to come to its completion, even if that means playing behind closed doors all summer long or forced matches at the rate of one match every three days.

This way, the LFP would be ready to resume the next championship in the aftermath of the coronavirus, whose TV rights have already been sold to another broadcaster, who equally, eyes closed, have threatened to not pay.

In the meantime, all French clubs, including PSG, have chosen to take advantage of the French government’s widened social measures.

They have placed all of their employees on partial or technical unemployment. Concretely, each club pays 70pc of the base salary to its employees, and receives a reimbursement from the State limited to 5,400 euros per person. In this way, clubs are saving on secretarial, gardening and/or physiotherapist’s salaries.

All of this, regardless of the player wage reduction negotiations during the period without matches.

A footballer from Olympique de Marseille or Olympique Lyonnais earns on average €200,000 per month. At PSG, Neymar earns more than €4m per month.

The clubs pay the complement of partial unemployment which then seems derisory. However, the widening of governmental measures already allows them to reduce their outgoings by roughly 30pc.

Clearly, the LFP is saving on social security, wages and employee salaries while at the same time receiving €5,400 from the state for each of their players.

The allocation of public money allotted to the spoiled children of football is legal, but it could quickly cause outrage.

In France, most health care providers (HCPs) and caregivers are currently working without counting their hours for a paltry salary, in a healthcare system strangled by budget cuts.

As if to get ahead of the controversy, Olympic Lyonnais has signed a cheque for €300,000 in favour of medical research and PSG paid €100,000 to Secours Populaire Français to which will be added the proceeds of jersey sales.