Ligue 1 is resumed under threat of Covid-19

Five months after stopping his season due to Covid-19, Ligue 1 will come out with the crampons on Friday, under high health surveillance, during an impromptu opening match between Girondins and Nantes. The announcement of coronavirus cases in the Marseilles rankings postponed the meeting originally planned between OM – Saint-Étienne

While the spotlight is on the Champions League final between Paris SG and Bayern Munich, which will take place on Sunday, Ligue 1 resumes, on Friday 21 August, almost on the sly, after a five-month break due to a pandemic .

The threat of the virus is still relevant. Bordeaux and Nantes have indeed been called upon to replace Marseillais and Stéphanois at short notice, whose meeting originally scheduled for Friday has been postponed until September 17 due to four positive cases of Covid-19 in the OM workforce.

“Atlantic derby” is really a classic of L1, which has already had the awards to open the season, especially in 2001 after the last title of the Canary Islands. But this time, this poster at the Stade Matmut Atlantique, which is operated as a locomotive from the first day of L1 for the big launch of the Téléfoot channel by the new transmitter Médiapro, risks becoming a bit bland.

This is because Bordeaux and Nantes, far from their former glory, are approaching this new financial year with many questions. Especially due to the fact that their preparations were severely disrupted, Bordeaux by the long series for the resignation of its former technician Paulo Sousa, and Nantes by a series of cases by Covid-19.

A replacement opening game

In front of 5,000 masked spectators, the maximum approved meter, the exception to transfer to 10,000 spectators has been rejected by the prefecture of Gironde, this new programming does not Jean-Louis Gasset.

Appointed just ten days ago on the Bordeaux bench to replace Sousa, the dean of the L1 coaches (66 years old) has not had the opportunity to measure the potential of his group. He also considered his workforce “a little traumatized” and “bored” by the agitation, which reigned this summer behind the scenes in Haillan. In addition, a case of Covid-19 in Auxerre’s ranks was discovered right, Saturday, the only preparatory game he could have succeeded before resuming.

Despite these setbacks, Gasset will be able to trust a team that knows each other well. There were no recruits and the base seems quite homogeneous if we refer to the friendly victory (4-0), which was obtained in Reims on 8 August.

In Nantes’ line, Christian Gourcuff does not boast of the idea of ​​being put in the spotlight and the inauguration of this championship afterwards. The succession of coronavirus cases in his workforce since the end of July has turned his preparatory work upside down (friendly match in Belgium was interrupted, training shortened …) and deprived him of seven players who tested positive, including captain Abdoulaye Touré or managers like Ludovic Blas or Marcus Coco.

Three of them, including Blas and Coco, have just passed the necessary heart tests before a full recovery and will travel to Bordeaux even though they have just returned to the group. The other four are still in isolation or undergoing individual training, while the workforce also has three players who are not available for minor injuries.

“We are very vigilant”

In other clubs spared by the virus, the concern is there. “We are very vigilant, we break the players’ heads with fairly strong daily messages. We encourage them to test their families. […], unfortunately to limit the contacts with the outside as much as possible. But we know very well that the bubble is pierced everywhere “, explains Nicolas Holveck, president of Rennes.

Pollution is also generally increasing in the cities of some of the affected clubs, such as Marseille and Nîmes, says Emmanuel Orhant, medical director of the French Football Association. If the trend continues, the efforts of clubs and entourage will not necessarily be sufficient, as the authorities can reconfigure cities or departments and their clubs with it.

The long suspension of the championship in March also cost the clubs dearly, losing some of their TV rights and revenue, which for most of them obliterated the profits hoped for this year thanks to the increase. the rights in the new contract with Mediapro, and above all the drastic reduction in the number of spectators leads to new shortcomings.

Drastic rules

While waiting to make the accounts, the teams must follow a very strict health protocol. In all stages and “all the time”, the mask will be mandatory from the age of 11 and even in the changing rooms.

During the warm-up, all players will be exempted from it, but once the end has been given, the substitutes will have to hide again. Physical distance is required until “private conversations”, the essential interviews must be “short” and “in a closed circle”.

A “plan for cleaning, disinfection and ventilation of the stadium’s various spaces” is in place with the aim of regularly disinfecting all contact areas. Even the balls are disinfected regularly during the matches, by masked and gloved ball collectors.

A “rigorous” test program is also introduced: each player must undergo a PCR test between 72 hours and 48 hours before each game. Each positive test after the development of symptoms requires the player to be isolated from the patient. group for 14 days from the first day when symptoms began.

And from four players or supervisors isolated for eight rolling days, the virus will be considered “circulating” in the club, which will require training in small groups for only seven days and referral to a “Covid Commission” “responsible for to decide on possible postponements of matches.

With AFP