French football authorities have confirmed plans to resume the Ligue 1 campaign by June 17 with a view to completing the 2019-20 campaign by July 25.
The top two divisions in France have been suspended since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, like each of Europe’s major leagues.
Reports emerged earlier in April hinting at a June restart in an effort to finish the season by July 25, and a statement published by the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed those plans to be true:
"The bureau of the board of directors unanimously voted on April 10 for] the resumption of the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 championships to finish by July 25, and a commencement on August 22 and 23, 2020 of the 2020/2021 season. This provides for a restart of the 2019/2020 season on June 17, 2020.
"The LFP is now awaiting the deconfinement procedures that the government will announce at the end of April, and in particular the conditions under which the matches could be played behind closed doors.”
There’s a clear inclination to finish this season in good enough time to begin the 2020-21 campaign in August, the same month in which it usually starts every year.
UEFA announced on Thursday that a meeting of the executive committee decided it was a priority for domestic leagues to complete their seasons in the normal format if possible. In the event that it isn't feasible due to the constraints caused by the pandemic, national associations must do their utmost to decide finishing league positions based on “sporting merit.”
Those parameters will be used to decide which teams will qualify for European competition, and French football podcaster Jeremy Smith mapped out some of the potential ramifications:
Eighteen of the 20 Ligue 1 clubs have played 28 games as things stand, while runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain—12 points in front at the summit—and Strasbourg have each played 27.
The proposed schedule has drawn some criticism as it would mean teams will be playing every three days on average, increasing the risk of injury at a time where the medical sector is already in under great strain.
More than 21,000 coronavirus-related deaths have occurred in France as of Thursday evening, making it the third-worst affected European nation by the illness, per the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.