PSG set to be crowned champions despite cancelled season as Ligue 1 sets precedent for Liverpool to lift Premier League title
The reigning French champions had a lead less than half of Liverpool’s current advantage over Manchester City
Paris Saint-Germain are set to be awarded the Ligue 1 title, according to reports in France, in a move that could pave the way for Liverpool to lift their first ever Premier League title – even if they do not play their last nine games.
The Premier League and Ligue 1 were both suspended on 13 March due to the coronavirus outbreak. French clubs had hoped to return to training in May when president Emmanuel Macron is aiming to reopen schools, with the league restarting in June.
However, an announcement on Wednesday from prime minister Edouard Philippe banning all sport, including behind-closed-doors affairs, until August at least scuppered those plans and left the LFP forced to cancel the rest of the season.
They have now taken the decision to award PSG the Ligue 1 title despite there still being more than 100 games remaining in the season, according to L’Equipe. The French giants are currently 12 points clear of nearest rivals Marseille with 11 games to play. They also have a game in hand.
The decision to end the season on the current rankings would also have an impact further down the table, with Marseilles and Rennes qualifying for the Champions League. With no domestic cup finals, Reims and Nice would join fourth-placed Lille in the Europa League. However, Lyon’s last game before lockdown – a 1-0 defeat to Lille – looks like it will cost them European football next season as they sit seventh in the table; club president Jean-Michel had campaigned for play-offs over the summer to decide the final standings.
In England, three Premier League clubs have this week returned to training with strict social distancing measures in place. The competition hopes to have all 20 back at their training grounds in some capacity next month with a proposed restart behind closed doors in early June. They are also planing to have twice-weekly Covid-19 testing for all players and staff in place in order to prevent spread of coronavirus through those taking part.
Will the Premier League follow suit?
However, those plans will have to be approved by a meeting of club executives of Friday, where Uefa has urged all possible conclusions to be discussed. There have been calls to void the season since it cannot be finished safely, a move that would leave Liverpool fans distraught.
The Reds are a massive 25 points clear at the top of the table with nine games left to play and have not won the league title in 30 years, since before the foundation of the Premier League. But the move in France to allow PSG to lift the trophy despite the incomplete campaign could set an important precedent for the Premier League, who could argue it gives greater weight to any efforts to award prize money based on current standings.
There is increasing public pressure on English football to abandon the season because playing on would represent an insensitive endeavour given the rising death toll as well as a potential strain on testing capacity in the UK. But government officials are thought to have urged the Premier League to seek a positive solution to the crisis because the prospect of live sport on TV would raise wavering spirits in the general public.