Coronavirus: French clubs can play July friendlies, LFP confirms

By John Skilbeck 30 May 2020 4
Coronavirus: French clubs can play July friendlies, LFP confirms

French clubs will be allowed to play friendlies in July ahead of the new season, it emerged on Friday.

The 2019-20 campaign was abandoned in April amid concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, with Paris Saint-Germain declared Ligue 1 champions and Amiens and Toulouse relegated.

Most clubs still had 10 games to play and the decision caused controversy and, in places, uproar.

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas, whose seventh-placed team missed out on a European place, has yet to back down in his campaign to get the top flight restarted, given those in Germany, Spain, Italy and England have either resumed or will soon be swinging back into action.

Aulas has also been forcefully pushing the idea that clubs should be allowed to play warm-up games in July, amid his insistence that football can be played in a safe environment.

Speaking to Le Parisien on Thursday, Aulas suggested Lyon could take part in a mini-tournament involving PSG, Saint-Etienne and Lille, as part of pre-season preparations.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has now confirmed friendlies can go ahead, announcing that detail within a news release regarding international broadcast rights.

A meeting of the LFP board - which includes LFP president Nathalie Boy de la Tour, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet and club officials including PSG's Nasser Al-Khelaifi - was held on Friday.

"During this meeting, the LFP board recalled that the 2020-2021 season will be able to restart as agreed next August with friendly preparation matches in July," an LFP statement read.

The statement added the LFP was focusing on playing matches next season with "all or part of the crowd under the hygiene conditions which will be defined with the public authorities".

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