Ligue 1 side Lyon, who currently have two ongoing legal actions against the decision to definitively terminate the 2019/20 campaign, this morning released a statement outlining their position fully. Below.
Since the provisional cessation of the championship on March 13, we have done everything to find solutions that honour people affected by the pandemic, defend the general interest of French football, protect the passionate attachment of fans, promote the sustainability of all clubs and sporting merit, as advocated by UEFA.
– From March 11th, we asked for the temporary suspension of the French championship, the time to face and react to an unknown pandemic.
– On March 13th, when asked by Le Monde about the possible solutions and the outcome that this suspension of the 2019/20 season could take, we raised the possibility of a null and void season in the event that the championship could not end. It was, in the context of this question and time, the solution that seemed to do the least harm to all of French football.
– On the evening of March 13th, responding to an invitation from Canal +, we reaffirmed that the obvious thing to do was to “finish the championship.” Since then, we have always affirmed that “the best solution would be to finish the championship.”
– Throughout the month of April, we identified that it would be difficult to “finish all the matches” but we showed a strong desire to do what was in the general interest of French clubs, and not only, as some claim, do what serves OL’s interests exclusively.
In this context, we have made several credible proposals taking into account the health requirements and to protect the health of all players in football: finish the championship between September and December as suggested by other club presidents, wait and observe what our European neighbours are doing, set up a playoff system as others had suggested.
In any case, we have always worked to favour sporting merit over mathematics and favour the glorious uncertainty of sport! These proposals were a basis for further work. They could have been taken up and reworked by all elements of French football.
But, on April 30, the LFP suddenly decided to definitively stop the French professional championship, without taking into account all of UEFA’s recommendations, or giving itself time to observe what our dozens of neighbours were planning: relaunching the championship while working on a health protocol to protect the various players in football.
How do we make football lovers happy who are deprived of their passion today?
How do we survive in the very short term €900m of cumulative losses for French professional football?
How can we guarantee that all French clubs can finish the year without going bankrupt?
How can we help amateur football overcome the present and face the future?
How do we fight with our foreign competitors who, for the vast majority, chose cautiously to wait to relaunch their championship? How can we prevent the gap from widening further between French football and all the other major European countries?
How do we allow all partners, actors, decision-makers, followers, amateurs, supporters, enthusiasts to find a little serenity?
Those who seek to make controversy today are wrong, but we invite them to reflect, today, for the sake of the future of French football and for the general interest of all.
Let us all unite and go far beyond our own interests!
There is still time, until May 25, to back off and avoid the French championship facing a huge slide.
We all love football, we all love this game.
We love the values it conveys, the passion it exudes.
Football is part of our life and our cultural heritage.
The championship is our ritual.
We must imperatively take care of it, as did all those who preceded us.
We are its heirs.