Le Parisien report that UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin laid out in a letter written to Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas that the 2019/20 Ligue 1 season could have taken the whole of August, if that was required, for it to be completed, as the OL boss continues his legal challenges against the LFP decision to terminate the campaign despite there being 10 matches still to play.
The letter was received by Aulas on 14th May and raises new questions about why Minister for Sports Roxana Maracineanu was so keen to get the LFP to terminate their campaign on Tuesday 28th April, under the auspices that UEFA had definitively given leagues up until 3rd August to be completed in 2019/20 owing to the COVID-19 induced disruption – which has never more emphatically looked like a lie as it does now.
Ceferin’s letter reads as follows:
“As for whether UEFA has actually given its member associations a deadline of August 3 to finish their national championships, the following clarification should answer your question. The dates of July 20th (for national associations classified 16 to 55) and August 3rd (for those classified 1 to 1.5, which includes France) were described in the presentations made at meetings with secretaries and presidents of 55 UEFA member associations on 21st April and at meetings between UEFA, the European Club Association and Union of European Leagues working groups. However, we have always mentioned during these meetings that these dates are only recommendations, provisional and not official. I hope that these explanations will provide sufficient answers to your questions.”
In his letter, the UEFA president also explained to Aulas that there were two solutions to end the season: “During a videoconference on 23rd April, the UEFA Executive Committee unanimously stressed that the health of the players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the general public must remain the main consideration at present… UEFA’s recommendation was [for] the national associations and leagues to do their best to complete the national championships in progress, either in the original format or in a suitable format, if necessary. The aim was to do everything to protect the competitions and guarantee the application of the principle of sporting merit.”
This bombshell letter proves that Aulas was on firm footing when suggesting a quickened end to the 2019/20 campaign through a play-off format if necessary.
On 5th May on La Chaîne L’Équipe, Minister for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu explained why the government supported the LFP decision to classify and finalise the league standings on 30th April: “It is the proposition that I have in my office: a season had to finish on 3rd August owing to dates imposed by UEFA.”
This evidences clearly that the French government used factually incorrect information to make the decision to terminate and has triggered an economic crisis for French football in the process.