French League voided amidst rising fear over Coronavirus

The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, today the 27th of April 2019, formally announced the cancellation of all big sporting events, including those behind closed doors till September. This announcement means the French Premier League (Ligue 1) has effectively been voided. This put to rest the speculations surrounding the restart of the League behind closed doors as some sports stakeholders had earlier suggested. 

The announcement is coming on the heels of the devastating effect of COVID-19 on France. As of today, the total number of Coronavirus cases recorded in France had risen to 165,842, while a total of 23,293 deaths have been recorded. A total of 45,513 people had recovered from the virus. 

Before today’s announcement by Édouard Philippe, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) were topping Ligue 1 by 68 points from 27 matches played before the suspension of the League. Olympique De Marseilles followed closely with 56 points from 28 matches. Rennes had 50 points from 28 matches

In a related development, The Football authorities in Holland had also declared null and void the Eredivisie which is the Premier League in Holland. It follows the increase in deaths recorded in the country which has risen to a total of 4,566 as of today (28/04/2020). The Dutch football association confirmed that there would be no champions, no promotion, and no relegation. It is a massive blow to Ajax FC, that was leading the League table on goal difference after matchday 25. They were tied on 56 points with AZ (Alkmaar Zaanstreek)

The COVID-19 Pandemic had also led to the Belgium Football authorities calling off the remainder of the League and declaring Clube Brugge Champions. The issue surrounding teams to be relegated and those to be promoted are however yet to be decided. Belgium has been hard hit by the pandemic, with 7,331 deaths recorded as at today (28/04/2020).

The entire football world is now focused on the English FA and waiting to see what plans they have as regards the restart of the English Premier League. There have been numerous suggestions as to how to conclude the remaining league matches, with some football pundits calling for the League to be declared null and void.

It would be recalled that the English Football Association had on March 26th, voided the season for non-league divisions below the National League and National League North and South, and women’s football below the Women’s Super League and Championship, due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

The UK has been worst hit with the Coronavirus pandemic, with death surging beyond 21,000. It is expected that a decision will be reached in the coming weeks, as Clubs have been in constant touch with the FA and other stakeholders.

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