Paris (AFP) – Some of the French Ligue 1’s club presidents joined forces on Monday to criticise the decision in April to declare the season over due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said five week ago the campaign could not restart but Germany’s Bundesliga has resumed while Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and England’s Premier League are set to follow suit by the end of this month.
“Start of April, we were the only league among Europe’s big five to propose the restart of the season,” Nantes’ Waldemar Kita said in a statement by Premiere Ligue, a union of the league’s chiefs.
“We were ahead of time, we were mocked. We were the motor and the other countries followed us later. But unfortunately, we stayed in the same spot,” Kita added.
Lille’s Gerard Lopez said the move was “pretty brutal”.
“We keep saying that we’re trying to catch up on the other four big leagues and then we make a rod for our own backs at a key moment.
“We’re all alone. It might be in France that football is not at the same level as other countries,” he added.
Saint-Etienne’s Bernard Caiazzo, who is the head of the body, pointed the finger solely at politicians.
“We’re not responsible, those who are responsible are the Prime Minister and the government. They have information we don’t have,” Caiazzo said.
“You could ask if the government decided too quickly. Was there a discussion with the clubs? No. Was there a discussion with other countries? No,” he added.
Lyon, whose chief Jean-Michel Aulas has been vociferous since the April 30 decision with his side set to miss out on Europe next season, and relegated Amiens will challenge the decision at France’s highest administrative court on June 4.
Bottom side Toulouse are among other clubs expected to appeal.