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Football has started and is going well in Germany. Spain has a month of solid games planned. Serie A is coming back. Even the Premier League has a return all mapped out.
All of which potentially leaves France looking a bit silly.
Ligue 1 was swiftly curtailed at the end of April, after the French government decreed that no football could take place before September. There were still ten rounds of games remaining, and PSG were crowned champions on the basis that they were 12 points clear at the top.
But now that COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted across the continent and other leagues are on their way back, how is the mood in France with regards to the early decision to stop the season?
“Not really good, for a few reasons,” Julien Laurens said on the Totally Football Show this week. “There are still some people in the country that think it was the right call to end the season when they did, at the end of April, that health had to be the priority and football comes way, way below that.
“But there’s more and more frustration growing, more and more lack of understanding, especially because now the message from the government has changed. At first it was “you cannot play football until September because it’s not safe” and now it’s “by the end of July you can have games, maybe with fans in the stadium.”
“So we went from “you can’t play between April and September” to “you can play in July if you want to”. The clubs are saying “we stopped the season because you said no football until September, but now you’re saying we can play in July with fans.”
And if you like conspiracy theories, then Jules – Paris born and bred – has a whopper, straight from the pages of Le Parisien.
“There are more and more stories emerging all the time, one of which was that the decision was taken Emmanuel Macron to stop the season, and Macron is a huge Marseille fan. [The story was] that Macron spoke to the Marseille chairman, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, before he took the decision, and what would Marseille say when they’re second in the table and going back to the Champions League for the first time in six years?
“Would they say “let’s continue on the season and have the risk of not qualifying for the Champions League”? Or “shall we stop now, and we’re sure to finish in the top three”?”
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