Paris Saint-Germain have been crowned champions of France despite the season being ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.
France’s top-flight season was called to a halt on Tuesday and after a meeting on Thursday, Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) CEO Didier Quillot confirmed that the Parisiens have been handed the title on the basis of points-per-game.
Lorient, top of Ligue 2 when football came to a halt in March because of the coronavirus, have been promoted as champions.
Paris Saint-Germain have now been awarded the Ligue 1 title for the 2019-20 season
FINAL LIGUE 1 TABLE
1. PSG (Champions)
2. Marseille (CL groups)
3. Rennes (CL qualification)
4. Lille (Europa League)
19. Amiens (R)
20. Toulouse (R)
Quillot added that he hoped that cup competitions in France could be completed in August behind closed doors, subject to approval from UEFA, with Europa League places being allocated to the winners. As it stands Lille have been awarded a Europa League spot, however it is unclear who might join them.
PSG play Saint Etienne Coupe de France and Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue. If those games are able to go ahead and PSG win both, the spots will go to Nice and Reims via league position. Lyon and Saint Etienne will qualify if they beat the newly-crowned champions in either final.
If the games do not go ahead then it is expected that Nice and Reims will be awarded the spots.
‘We were genuinely ready to finish the season like the Germans & Spanish,’ Quillot said, while also confirming the goal is to start the new season by August 22. ‘But there were government decisions made which we respect.’
It was also confirmed that two teams will be relegated from Ligue 1 and two promoted, meaning Lens will come up along with Lorient, while Amiens and Toulouse will drop down to Ligue 2.
The decision is likely to have massive ramifications and could lead to a string of appeals from clubs to have missed out on promotion or to have been relegated.
In finishing the season, Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Rennes have qualified for next season’s Champions League. Marseille will appear in the competition for the first time since 2013/14, while Rennes will make their debut.
Third-bottom Nimes, although in the relegation zone, will keep their place in the top flight, given there will be no Ligue 2 play-offs and a chance for a third team to earn promotion from the second tier.
Paris Saint-Germain fans will be celebrating after it was reported they will be be given the title
L’Equipe reported that of the three governing bodies within the organisation, the first voted on Thursday morning, the second will vote on Thursday afternoon, and the third will vote in early May.
The season’s last round of fixtures were played on March 7 and 8, and the final standings see PSG sitting 12 points clear of second-placed Marseille with a game in hand.
The decision means PSG have won their third-consecutive league trophy, and the ninth title in their history.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced by France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that the return of games will not be authorised before September, even behind closed doors, as part of the next stage of the country’s lockdown plans.
PSG won last season’s Ligue 1 and are currently top of the table this season by 12 points
In a statement, Philippe said: ‘The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019-20 football season cannot return.’
A week prior to the announcement, the league had announced plans to resume on June 17, but that was curtailed by the French government.
Meanwhile, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and general secretary Theodore Theodoridis have spoken to leagues in Europe, including Ligue 1 and the Premier League, and asked them for a detailed plan on how they will finish the campaign.
Philippe made announcement about cancelling the season in the National Assembly in Paris
A statement from European football’s governing body said: ‘National Associations and/or Leagues should be in a position to communicate to UEFA by May 25, 2020, the planned restart of their domestic competitions — including the date of restart and the competition format.’
Elsewhere in Europe, the Bundesliga in Germany had announced plans to return to action on May 9 behind closed doors, but that date has now been shifted. Conversely the Eredivisie has been cancelled with major events in Holland banned until September due to the coronavirus outbreak.
But the Belgian leagues have delayed a further vote on cancelling their season despite being the first country to announce they would end the campaign.
Bournemouth would be handed a reprieve if England follow France’s lead with relegations
France’s decision to end the season prematurely and give PSG the title has raised further questions over what the Premier League plan to do if they cannot finish their own campaign.
While the plan in the English top flight is still to press on when possible to conclude the season, it appears likely that Liverpool will be handed the title if fixtures are unable to be finished in the coming months.
Of course, perhaps more interesting will be the decision made on relegation, with Norwich, Aston Villa and Bournemouth currently occupying the bottom three places.
Ligue 1 appear set to relegate the bottom two teams, and if the English top flight were to follow suit it would hand a reprieve to Eddie Howe’s Cherries, while Villa and Norwich would return to the Championship without having even completed a full campaign in the Premier League.