Big-time soccer officially has ground to a halt in France.
Prime minister Edouard Philippe announced Tuesday that France will prohibit professional soccer games from taking place until at least September due to the coronavirus pandemic. Philippe’s announcement effectively ends the Ligue 1 (French first division) and Ligue 2 campaigns with roughly 10 rounds of play remaining on their respective schedules.
“The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September,” Philippe told France’s National Assembly, per The Guardian’s Ed Aarons. “The 2019-20 professional football season cannot return.”
The Ligue de Football Professionnel, Ligue 1’s governing body, will meet next month in order to determine whether to crown a champion of France. PSG had a 12-point lead atop the Ligue 1 standings and a game in hand over second-place Marseille when play was suspended last month. Which teams to enter into next season’s UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League also will be a topic of discussion as will which clubs to promote or relegate.
Ligue 1 is set to become the biggest of Europe’s soccer leagues to end its season prematurely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Dutch soccer league cancelled the rest of its season last week.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Bundesliga believes it will be “ready” to resume in early May, provided the government allows games to take place — with or without fans in attendance.