Ligue 1 planning to start 2020-21 season by August 22-23 at latest

With the 2019-20 season ended by the French government’s coronavirus response, attention now turns to the planning of the next campaign

The French Professional Football League (LFP) is hoping to begin the 2020-21 Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 season in mid-August.

On Tuesday, plans to finish the current campaign were made redundant by an announcement from the French government that sport was to be banned until the end of August.

In response, the decision was made to finish the 2019-20 season early, with Paris Saint-Germain crowned champions in Ligue 1 and Lorient taking the Ligue 2 title.

In an LFP statement, it was confirmed: “The board of directors recalls the objective of starting Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 by August 22 and 23, 2020 at the latest.

“The final date for the resumption [of the 2020-2021 season] will be decided in consultation with broadcasters and taking into account decisions from the government.”

The decision to finish the 2019-20 season has divided opinion.

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi dedicated his side’s league title to ‘healthcare staff and everyday heroes’.

“We understand, respect and support the decisions taken by the French government to end the championship,” Al-Khelaifi said.

“Health, as the government has always said, must be everyone’s priority.

“In these difficult times, I hope that this trophy will bring a little happiness and hope to all our supporters, and I am grateful to them for their unwavering support which helps drive Paris Saint-Germain forward.”

Strasbourg defender Lamine Kone told Goal he didn’t believe there was any other option other than to cancel, but Lyon – who have missed out on European qualification for the first time since 1997 – have confirmed they will be pursuing legal action.

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas had proposed on Wednesday that the current season should be finished through a play-off system, played on a one-off basis behind closed doors.

UEFA has previously said they want domestic leagues to be concluded by August 2, and that continental qualification should be based on “sporting merit”.

In Ligue 1, the top three teams qualify for the Champions League, with the top two going straight to the group stage. The team in fourth place qualifies for the Europa League alongside the winners of the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue.

When the season was suspended, Lyon were seventh, nine points adrift of fourth place, though they were also scheduled to play PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue final.