The top two divisions of French soccer—Ligue 1 and Ligue 2—have been suspended until further notice due to concerns in relation to the spread of the coronavirus.
A statement released via the official Ligue 1 website confirmed the top tiers would be postponed for the time being, with the board of directors due to meet on March 17 when they will decide the next course of action.
France follows the likes of Italy, Spain and the Netherlands in deciding to suspend all football activity, and the Ligue 1 statement read:
“As the President of the Republic stressed yesterday, the collective interest must be placed above all else. The urgency today is to curb the epidemic, protect the most vulnerable and avoid travel.”
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus threat a pandemic on Wednesday, at which point more than 4,250 people had died as a result of the respiratory illness.
Leaders Paris Saint-Germain—who are 12 points clear of second-place Marseille with one game in hand—beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 on Wednesday in a Champions League meeting that took place behind closed doors.
Thomas Tuchel’s side were due to host Nice on Sunday. Other countries have suspended soccer competitions until the end of March or early April, and it seems likely France could follow suit.
Games were already due to take place in empty stadiums after the country ruled against gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
UEFA also announced on Friday that their upcoming Champions League matches would be postponed in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19. This means the round-of-16 second-leg fixtures between Manchester City and Real Madrid, as well as Juventus and Lyon, will not go ahead.