Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas Says Ligue 1 Should Cancel 2019-20 Season

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 13, 2020

Olympique Lyonnais' President Jean-Michel Aulas attends a press conference to present the club's new head coach on October 15, 2019 in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon. (Photo by ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP) (Photo by ROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP via Getty Images)

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has said Ligue 1 should cancel the 2019-20 season after the French top flight was suspended on Friday until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Aulas told Le Monde (h/t Get French Football News) that the best decision for all clubs would be to write off the current campaign altogether:

"The best solution would be to say 'this is a blank season' which would avoid those who are at the bottom of the table to turn to the LFP and FFF (to look to legally contest relegation). The rules stipulate that it is at the end of the league season that a team is relegated. A different decision would open a legal can of worms which could prove very costly. The most logical thing to do is to say: 'We cancel everything and we start from the situation at the beginning of this season.'"

Champions Paris Saint-Germain are currently 12 points clear in France with 11 games left to play and on course to retain their title, but there is still plenty left to play for in the rest of the league.

Only a point separates Rennes and Lille in the scrap for third place, while Dijon and Saint-Etienne are both only three points above the relegation zone which currently contains Toulouse, Amiens and Nice.

Lyon finished last season in third place in Ligue 1 which secured Les Gones a place in the UEFA Champions League. They are currently down in seventh place in the table in 2019-20 and unlikely to qualify for next season's tournament through their league position.

BBC Sport's John Bennett was critical of Aulas' comments:

John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC

Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas wants this season not to count for anything: "We cancel everything and we start from the situation at the beginning of this season." He would say that, they’re 7th, 10 points off the Champions League places! 😂 Self interest will rule sadly.

Aulas seems unlikely to be granted his wish. LFP chief executive Didier Quillot has told reporters: "When a league is suspended, it must pick up again and therefore must be completed."

Lyon do remain in contention in the UEFA Champions League and are in good shape to progress to the quarter-finals of the tournament after beating Juventus 1-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

However, UEFA have confirmed the second leg, due to be held on Tuesday, has been postponed after Juventus players were placed under quarantine because defender Daniele Rugani tested positive for coronavirus.

Europe's governing body is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss "all domestic and European competitions" and are expected to provide a further update on the Champions League at that time.