Tuesday’s soccer news starts with the French government announcing a ban on sporting events until September. The move would leave the French professional leagues no choice but to cancel any plans to finish the 2019-20 season. PSG leads Ligue 1 with Marseille and Rennes in the other Champions League places. Lille, Reims, and Nice would take the Europa League spots. Nimes is in the relegation playoff position with Amiens and Toulouse potentially dropping to Ligue 1. Lorient and Lens are in the promotion places in Ligue 2 with Ajaccio, Troyes, and Clermont joining Nimes in the relegation playoffs. Since the ban on games is total, there is no mechanism for holding the relegation playoffs.
Ligue 1 finds itself in a similar position to the Eredivisie with the Dutch league opting to void its season. To satisfy UEFA’s insistence on “sporting merit,” the Eredivisie used the table as it stood to qualify teams for European competition. UEFA already established the “existence of an official order prohibiting sports events so that the domestic competitions cannot be completed before a date that would make it possible to complete the current season in good time before the next season to start” as one of its “legitimate reasons to prematurely terminate their domestic competitions.”
Whether other European countries follow the lead of the Netherlands and France with governments ending seasons or Belgium with the league announcing an end to its season remains an open question. The Bundesliga’s push to return in May doesn’t necessarily appear to have other countries preparing to follow their lead or their timeframe. The NY Times’ Rory Smith looks at the different scenarios in Europe where there’s now a divide among governments for allowing the games to resume.
UEFA has now set a May 25 deadline for its member leagues to announce their plans. The Bundesliga could be a couple of weeks into the resumption of their season by that point. It’s worth noting that Belgium has yet to officially ratify their decision to cancel the remaining games. That means only the lower divisions in Scotland have voted to end seasons. The expectation is that the Scottish Premier League will join the lower divisions in officially ending its season, but that has yet to happen.
The Premier League is pressing on with what they’re now calling “Porject Restart” with BBC Sport’s Dan Roan and Laura Scott explaining what that might mean. With some teams allowing for individual training, we may already be seeing the beginnings of a gradual ramp-up to closed door games. The Premier League seems to have the support of the British government in the push to complete the season. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney explains the Premier League’s position.
Yahoo Sports’ Doug McIntyre reports on USMNT and Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper Zack Steffen’s knee injury. The Associated Press’s Ciaran Fahey reports on opposition to the Bundesliga’s plans from medical experts. Inside World Football’s Andrew Warshaw on the Eredivisie decision to void the season. The Guardian’s Nick Ames talks to a Cambuur player about the voided season when they were likely to win promotion.
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