Although the coronavirus pandemic managed to slam the breaks on football, thankfully traction is now being gained across Europe. Although most competitions will now play out to a rightful conclusion, this is not the case for France’s Ligue 1.
As the Bundesliga has already declared Bayern Munich champions for their on-pitch efforts and Liverpool have recently followed suit in the Premier League, French giants Paris Saint-Germain have had to make do with curtailed celebrations.
While their celebrations were rather muted, Thomas Tuchel’s men were undoubtedly a class apart this season and subsequently, there can be no argument regarding their status as champions.
Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas’ Anger At Ligue 1 Curtailment
French Football’s Curtailment
The decision to fold Ligue 1 early has not appeased everyone. With most of Europe returning to action, the curtailment has drawn severe criticism from Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas.
In a recent radio interview with the BBC’s World Service, Lyon’s president suggested that the decision to curtail the French season was a “massive error” and one that showed “an obvious lack of leadership”.
Admittedly the French Government forced the French Football League (LFP) into the decision; Government orders banned any sport until September. Thus, there is not a lot that could have been done in terms of playing out the season.
With that said, it is still not a decision that has gone down well with either Aulas or the two clubs that have suffered the ignominy of relegation. Both Toulouse and Amiens relegated to Ligue 2, arguably have suffered more than that of Lyon.
The ‘Points Per Game’ (PPG) basis locked Lyon into a seventh-place finish. Although the calculation meant no change to their current standing, it provided no opportunity to move up the table.
This is an opportunity that could have seen the club clinch a Europa League place next season. Unfortunately for them, it was not to be the case and because of this, their president has been the most vocal critic of the LFP’s decision.
Orders From Above
Had the French Government not been so forthcoming with an overall sporting ban, it could have given Ligue 1 some breathing space; they could have then followed the path of leagues across the rest of the continent.
Instead, such an overwhelming edict now looks somewhat hasty. The fact that the Premier League and La Liga are now playing out the rest of the campaign will only draw more ire from Jean-Michel Aulas.
With that said, football has found itself within rather extenuating circumstances. Therefore, any decisions regarding how to continue or close were always going to be mired in a level of controversy.
Although the feeling within the Lyon camp is one of non-acceptance, the general consensus is that Ligue 1 had little room for manoeuvre and ultimately, they are not the party that should take the brunt of Aulas’ anger.