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France hopes Cup final can go ahead in front of fans

Paris (AFP) – This season’s postponed French Cup final could still go ahead with a limited number of spectators allowed into the stadium, the president of the French Football Federation said Friday.

“That is what we are going to ask for. It is my wish anyway,” Noel Le Graet told AFP.

“We are in touch with the government. They might allow us to discuss having a limited number either for the start of next season, or for the Cup matches.”

The season in Ligue 1 and the tiers below was ended early in late April at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, which has thus far claimed more than 29,000 lives in France.

However, it is still hoped that both domestic Cup finals, postponed in April, can now be staged in August just before the planned start of next season, which has been delayed to the end of that month.

Paris Saint-Germain are due to play Saint-Etienne in the French Cup final and Lyon in the League Cup final.

Both matches are scheduled for the Stade de France, just outside Paris, which can accommodate 80,000 spectators when full.

Meanwhile, Le Graet dismissed suggestions that this season’s league competitions could still be restarted, a much-discussed subject in France as neighbouring countries start to resume playing.

“We follow the line of the government. There is no debate possible,” he said, preferring to look ahead to the 2020-21 season.

“Our players will be better prepared and maybe even in better form than the rest, we’ll see.

“In any case I have never questioned the decisions taken by the government. Priority to health rather than money.”

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