Lyon, 9 June 2020
Olympique Lyonnais has noted the decision of the judge of the Council of State (Conseil d'Etat) ruling in preliminary proceedings not to suspend the LFP's 30 April 2020 decision to halt the Ligue 1 championship.
Nevertheless, the judgement unequivocally indicated that this decision was taken by the Board of Directors of the LFP and not by the French government, and that the Board's decision was not a direct consequence of the positions expressed by the prime minister on 28 April 2020, contrary to what the LFP has repeatedly claimed. The responsibility for this decision therefore falls squarely on the LFP, as it did on Canal+ for cancelling the broadcasting contract covering Ligue 1 matches.
We note that the LFP's decision was contrary to UEFA's 23 April circular, which expressly indicated that leagues should do their utmost to complete the football season, as the vast majority of UEFA member associations have done, including in particular the four largest championships, even if they had to employ a modified format. As a reminder, only an official order or regulation preventing the completion of these competitions could justify abandoning the season at its current stage, which the judge's decision did not indicate.
The judge also ruled that there had not been any manifest error on the part of the Board of Directors as to the ranking of Ligue 1 clubs using a “points-per-match” method. The judge expressly mentioned, however, that the Board of Directors could also have chosen to cancel the entire season, a solution that has been adopted by professional leagues in other team sports. Given the interests of the Board's members, it was therefore not surprising, as we have repeated since the outset, that the Board of Directors did not make this choice. A vote by the full LFP membership would have been more democratic and incontrovertible.
Lastly, the Council of State asked that the Ligue 1 format be potentially revised for the 2020/21 season, yet the current improvement in public health conditions would allow for the 2019/20 season to resume. The LFP could still continue the football season in a modified format and in compliance with UEFA's 23 April 2020 circular, so as to pursue the competition until its conclusion and produce a result based on sporting performance. Resuming the season using this approach would be in line with the most recent announcements of the Minister of Sport about playing matches in July in the presence of spectators, as in the vast majority of European countries.
A resumption would enable the LFP to prepare for a normal 2020/21 season with 20 clubs.
In the absence of this solution, Olympique Lyonnais will pursue its claim on the merits of the case before the Council of State.
Jean-Michel Aulas will answer questions from journalists tomorrow following the press conference to be held in Groupama Stadium at 2:30 pm to present Tino Kadewere and Bruno Cheyrou.
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