PARIS: The French league season had been called off for the after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that no sporting events would be allowed in France until September. When the league returns later this year, it will do so by beginning the 2020-21 campaign.
That has created a challenge for Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain who are in the UEFA Champions League which the European federation intends to play out in August.
Domestically the Ligue de Football Professionnel is yet to decide what happens in regards to the title, alongside promotion and relegation, with a meeting scheduled for next month.
Philippe told the National Assembly: “The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019-20 football season cannot return.”
PSG currently top the Ligue 1 standings with a 12-point cushion over Marseille in second. They have won six of the last seven titles in France’s top division and will find out in May if they have made it three in a row.
The club will now consider playing its Champions League home matches in another country, according to PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
He said: “We respect of course the French government decision. We plan on competing in the Champions League with UEFA agreement, wherever and whenever it is held.
“If it is not possible to play in France we will play our matches abroad, subject to the best conditions for our players and the safety of all our staff.”
PSG beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Champions League quarter-finals before the pandemic forced the suspension of the season. The second leg was played behind closed doors in Paris as the pandemic closed in on European football.
UEFA has given leagues a May 25 deadline to inform it of their plans to restart domestic competitions. Any league cancelling its season would also need to produce a list of teams that have qualified for European club competitions.
Ajax, who are currently level on points with AZ Alkmaar but ahead on goal difference at the top, have been denied a second consecutive title.
There will also be no promotion to or relegation from the top flight, following an agreement reached over a video conference call between the KNVB and its clubs.
The KNVB had initially planned to resume the season for the top two divisions on June 19, with all games being played behind closed doors.
However, the government announced a three-month extension to the playing ban last week, resulting in the Dutch FA choosing to declare their season over.
As per UEFA’s directive for qualification for their European competitions to be decided on “sporting merit”, the KNVB has opted to use the league table as it stood when the season was suspended in March.
That means Ajax and AZ Alkmaar go into the Champions League, with Ajax entering at the final stage of qualifying.
Third-placed Feyenoord will qualify for the Europa League group stage while PSV and Willem II head into the second qualifying round for the Europa League, subject to confirmation from UEFA.