Football Sports

Ligue 1 matches to continue despite new lockdown, French Cup postponed

Despite the outbreak of another wave of coronavirus infection in France, which forced the government to put the country on lockdown, Ligue 1 fixtures will continue. France will return into a nationwide lockdown starting on Friday until December 1 to try to contain the spike of infection as announced by President Emmanuel Macron in an address to the nation.

Sports minister Roxana Maracineanu has said elite sport can continue behind closed doors as “coming weeks will be tough economically”. It means, the top three tiers of men’s football – Ligue 1, Ligue 2 and the National – and the women’s top flight can continue, as can international football matches However, the French Football Federation (FFF) has also halted all amateur football.

“The FFF decided to suspend all leagues, districts and national championships competitions National 3, National 2, Women’s D2, the French Cup for men and women, and national youth championships (male and female) until Tuesday, 1 December,” the FFF said in a statement. “All matches that cannot be played during this period will be postponed to later dates, depending on the evolution of the health situation.”

France are due to play Ireland in the Six Nations in Paris over the weekend, while the Paris Masters tennis tournament is also due to begin next week, with both events set to be played behind closed doors. “High-level athletes will be allowed to train. And then we will be allowed to compete because travelling for professional reasons is allowed,” Maracineanu said

Meanwhile, the Coupe de France, which was due to see the sixth and seventh rounds played over the next five weeks, has been suspended. Marseille’s Ligue 1 match with Lens, due for Friday, has already been postponed this weekend because of 11 members of the visiting side contracted the virus, while Grenoble’s Ligue 2 trip to Niort will also be played at a later date due to same reasons.

More than 250,000 new cases were confirmed in the last week according to John Hopkins University. France has more than a million if cases with over 36,000 new deaths and now sit next to USA with the most number of active cases in the world. The new measures will mean people have to stay at home except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention, or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise.

In Germany, the German Bundesliga is set to played behind closed doors once again from November 2 for the rest of the month as the country also combats the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Chancellor Angela Merkel and governors of the country’s 16 states passed new restrictions against the virus this week. Germany earlier reported a record 14,964 new infections over the previous 24 hours.