Paris St Germain (PSG) have been awarded their seventh France Ligue 1 title in eight years after the season was finished during the COVID-19 emergency, the French League (LFP) said on Thursday.
PSG had a comfortable 12-point lead over second-placed Olympique de Marseille when the season was suspended with 10 games left as a feature of the French government’s measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus a month ago.
With certain clubs having played 27 games and others 28, the LFP drew the standings as per a performance index – the number of points per game weighed by head-to-head record.
PSG, in this manner, finished the season on 2.52 points with OM on 2 and third-placed Stade Rennais on 1.79.
As per the standings, Marseille qualify for the Champions League group stage with Rennes experiencing a qualification playoff.
The declaration by the LFP comes after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday that “professional sports leagues, notably football, cannot restart” as a result of the pandemic.
The LFP likewise delegated Lorient as Ligue 2 champions in a conference call after the standings were frozen after all teams had played 28 matches.
“There is no ambiguity about this declaration. We needed to make a final decision about this season. We acknowledge that the 2019-20 season is over,” said LFP president Nathalie Boy de la Tour, in a conference call with reporters.
France becomes the biggest European league yet to end its season, similarly as its neighbors in England, Germany, Italy, and Spain think about methods for continuing matches.
Precluding any chance of copying the Netherlands, who voided their season without a champion, relegation or promotion, the LFP orchestrated a final table based on average points per game.
Ten rounds of matches remained when the campaign was ended, even though PSG and Strasbourg both had a game close by.
Subsequently, PSG are champions with an average of 2.52 points per game, with Andre Villas-Boas’ Marseille second with an average of 2 points and meeting all requirements for the Champions League.
“We have decided there would be two promotions and two relegations”, Didier Quillot, the CEO of the French League, told a news conference. It implies Amiens and Toulouse will be consigned and Lorient and Lens will be promoted.
Lorient had 54 points after losing four of their last five games with Lens on 53, leaving third-placed AC Ajaccio (52) and fourth-placed Troyes (51) in Ligue 2.
“There might be appeals but our decisions are solid,” Quillot added.
“We wish to dedicate this title to all health workers and other everyday heroes whose commitment and self-sacrifice throughout these long weeks deserve our admiration,” said PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi in a statement.
It is PSG’s ninth French title, the seventh in eight seasons for the Qatar-owned club being awarded in one of a kind conditions and with huge numbers of their foreign players – including Neymar – having come back to their home countries with France under strict lockdown.
“We understand, respect, and support the decisions taken by the French government to stop the league. Health, as the government has always said, must be a priority for all of us,” PSG president Nasser al Khelaifi, who dedicated the title to the caregivers associated with battling COVID-19, said in an announcement.
“I would like to thank the players, the coach, the sporting and medical staff as well as all the employees of the club for their great work. This trophy rewards their daily commitment,” he added.
The new season will begin on Aug. 22-23 at the most recent, likely away from public scrutiny as well known events are restricted until September in France.
“If then playing without spectators is allowed, we will try to play the Cup finals (League Cup and French Cup) in early August,” said Quillot.
PSG are to play against St Etienne in the Cup final and Olympique Lyonnais in the League Cup final.
The finals’ outcomes could influence who joins fourth-placed Lille in the Europa League, even though UEFA regulations state that leagues must say who is qualified by May 25 at the most recent.
The LFP’s declaration finished weeks of speculations and rows between club presidents.
“French football did not emerge greater from this crisis,” LFP president Nathalie Boy de la Tour said.