L’Équipe report today that the LFP are looking to play next February’s Monaco-Lyon fixture in Shanghai, pending the approval of FIFA.
As the Ligue 1 authorities look for new ways to market the league in the wake of last year’s broadcasting rights disaster, the latest proposal is to play a match in China, namely the match that would have been played at Monaco’s Stade-Louis II on Matchday 23.
With Ligue 1 rights being undersold abroad – €73m annually, compared to €710m for Spanish football and €1.4bn for English football – it’s hoped that the match, which will be held before European cup or International commitments come into play, will make a positive impact.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has indicated that the project has his approval – pending logistical issues – and that of Monaco as well, having met over dinner with Monaco vice president Oleg Petrov – “It’s an ambitious operation for Ligue 1’s image and its broadcasting.”
The two clubs have links to China – Lyon have a Chinese shareholder and sponsors from the country, whilst Monaco and president Dimitry Rybolovlev have commercial links there.
The project would nevertheless require FIFA’s approval. Although the Trophée des Champions can be held abroad, league games appear to be another matter – La Liga had already tried in 2019 to convince FIFA to hold a Villarreal-Atlético Madrid fixture in Miami, to no avail. Another attempt was made last year for Girona-Barcelona, again turned down.