As other top leagues in Europe are joining the German Bundesliga to resume, France’s Ligue 1 being the only one of Europe’s top five major leagues to cancel its season because of the coronavirus crisis may be embroiled in litigation.
President of Lyon’s Olympique Lyonnais club, Jean-Michel Aulas, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the authority, has decided to seek justice.
On Thursday, the 71-year-old officially asked the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, to overrule Ligue 1’s decision to terminate the current campaign.
“It was absurd to call the league off while other leagues reserved the right not to. Germany is already playing again, Spain will next week,” Aulas fumed at the hearing. “It’s the league which took the decision and can take the decision to resume… I’m shocked that we’re here debating whether we can play or not.”
Aulas revealed that he has had talks with the European Clubs Association and that “the procedure proposed by UEFA is the one that we can follow today: Return to training now and play the matches in 3 or 4 weeks.”
Last week, Aulas wrote a letter to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe making the point that nothing had obliged the French government to make their decision curtailing the season so quickly, and that UEFA had not put pressure on national associations to set a deadline for the end of competitions.
Lyon sat seventh on the table when the season was cut short on April 28, which means that they have failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 23 years. Aulas insisted that the club will sue the French state for 800 million euros (906 million U.S. dollars) of potential financial damage should the court reject their plea.
The judge said the verdict will be delivered either on Monday or Tuesday.