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Six French senators introduce amendments to bring about return of Ligue 1 football

Even if the attempt has very little chance of succeeding, six senators, including four from the Rhône area (where Ligue 1 club Lyon are situated), tabled amendments opening the way for a possible resumption of the 2019/20 Ligue 1 season, which still requires majority support in French senate. Mr Savin, Mr Kern, Mr Buffet, Ms Di Folco, Ms Lamure and Ms Forissier are fighting so that federations and leagues wishing to resume competition can do so as quickly as possible. A science committee would, per their proposed legislation, have the right to oversee a potential return.

Here is the amendment in full:

Amendment No. 242 presented by MM. SAVIN, KERN and BUFFET, Mmes DI FOLCO and LAMURE and M. FORISSIER.

Complete this article with two paragraphs worded as follows:

The delegated sports federations and the professional leagues may decide to resume professional competitions in order to complete the 2019-2020 season, if the health situation allows for it and after the opinion of the committee of scientists provided for in article L. 3131-19 of the code of public health.

To do this, they define, under their responsibility, and in agreement with the State, a health protocol adapted to the resumption of competitions which determines the conditions under which athletes, necessary personnel and the public can participate in these competitions.

On April 28th, the Prime Minister told the National Assembly that “the 2019-2020 season of professional sports, including the football season, cannot be resumed.”

Whilst health is the most important thing in all circumstances, this announcement can be seen as a surprise on at least two aspects: it was made very early (more than two weeks before the start of the de-escalation of quarantine) and without prior consultation with the sports world.

The leagues and federations thus, in line with their responsibilities, applied the Prime Minister’s decree, without even knowing the reasons which led to such a rapid decision-making.

Today, however, the situation has clearly changed, the premature nature of this government announcement is clear and many parties are questioning this choice.

It is certain that the magnitude of the health situation calls for caution and requires rapid decision-making, but this decision has serious consequences for sport and economics in the long term. In view of the evolution of the health crisis and the evolution of the information available, this decision should be able to be questioned by the federations and leagues which should they wish.

This amendment therefore allows federations and leagues who so wish to envisage a resumption of the championships to end the 2019/2020 season, dependent on the opinion of the COVID-19 scientific committee, and within the framework of an agreement with the State.

This possibility will occur if the following three conditions are met:

1 | the health situation should allow the resumption of competitions and prevent a further spread of the epidemic;

2 | the committee of scientists must decide on what a return would look like and, if necessary, issue health recommendations (total or partial quarantining, regular screening of players and staff, wearing of masks on the bench, etc.);

3 | An agreement to return must be ratified by the State, enabling an appropriate health protocol to be established and defining all the conditions for this takeover.

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