Lyon urge Emmanuel Macron to make U-turn on Ligue 1 season amid La Liga return

Decision to cut short the Ligue 1 2019-20 season was made last month with Paris Saint-Germain named champions; Lyon believe the season was called too hastily

Lyon have urged President Macron to reconsider his decision to ban sporting events until September
Image: Lyon have again hit out at the government's decision to ban all sporting events in the country until September

Lyon have again urged French President Emmanuel Macron to reconsider the decision to ban sporting events until September, after Spain gave the green light for top-flight football to resume in June.

The Ligue 1 club have been outraged by the French Government's decision in April which in turn saw the two main leagues in France cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Lyon, along with Amiens and Toulouse, lost their appeals when a judge upheld the ruling on Friday. Lyon now wants France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, to issue a ruling on the matter.

And they have been given fresh encouragement by Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's announcement on Saturday.

Sanchez said football will be allowed to return from June 8, meaning La Liga will be the second major European league to resume following the widespread suspension due to the crisis - with plans for the Premier League to return also on track.

Lyon said in a statement: "Olympique Lyonnais welcomes the decision this Saturday by Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish President, as his government authorised the resumption of La Liga from June 8. After the Bundesliga, this will be the second major league in Europe to return to the pitch.

"Olympique Lyonnais hopes that the example of Spain, following that of Germany, will help authorities reconsider the decision taken too hastily in France.

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Emmanuel Macron
Image: Emmanuel Macron has taken the decision to ban sporting events until September amid the COVID-19 pandemic

"We can reasonably imagine that the position of coaches and players in the French league is today much more in favour of a resumption of play than it had been during the UNFP poll conducted April 23 or when Didier Deschamps (the French national team head coach) confided on April 27 to President Emmanuel Macron his reluctance and his fear for the players' health.

"OL calls on President Emmanuel Macron to support the spirit of a France that should react to its European competitors.

"Thanks to the industry and efficiency of its citizens, France has pushed back the pandemic to allow the resumption of training under controlled circumstances and tomorrow we hope to compete on the pitch, as will be the case in almost all of the other European countries.

"The decision, taken in a hurry, on April 30 can now be compensated for in the eyes of the French people if we know how to recognise that nothing is ever final, and we adopt the most appropriate solution in the interest of French professional football and therefore the French people.

"Olympique Lyonnais hopes that the example of Spain, following that of Germany, will help authorities reconsider the decision taken too hastily in France."

Lyon missed out on European qualification through the final league standings, which is fuelling their unwillingness to accept the decision, but they are still in the Champions League, leading Juventus 1-0 after the first leg of their last-16 tie.

They say that cancelling the French league puts them and Paris Saint-Germain at a disadvantage.

"Beyond the economic disaster that will hit the French league hard, the most successful French clubs are still qualified in the Champions League, and will find themselves at a disadvantage during their European matches," the statement continued.

"PSG and Olympique Lyonnais, both still in the competition with both of their teams, female and male, will be penalised against opponents who will have benefited from the resumption of their league seasons."

Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas
Image: Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas wants the French government to reconsider their stance

In a letter on Monday to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas argued the premature conclusion of the season will have catastrophic consequences for French clubs, which could face losses of £616m to £793m (€700m to €900m).

In the letter, Aulas said the fact that the French league was the only one among the seven biggest European leagues to opt for an early end should convince authorities to reconsider their move. In Europe, the Dutch and Belgian leagues have also ended their 2019-20 seasons early.

"The Bundesliga resumed matches on May 16, Spain will resume matches on June 8. Italy, Russia and Portugal have resumed collective training and England is working on a resumption after June 19," Aulas wrote.

"How can France not be downgraded very quickly and see its professional football devalued?"

On June 2, the French government is expected to make further announcements related to France's lockdown exit strategy.

"Many developments and hopes are expected on this date, so that France can gradually regain a good dynamic," Aulas said.

"Could we imagine that June 2 is also a great opportunity to rectify the mistake concerning French football and to allow, with a health protocol used everywhere, to give the starting point for a gradual resumption of training (in June) and, why not, a resumption of the 2019-2020 season over the months of July or August?"

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