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French League leaders Paris Saint-Germain crowned champions of Ligue 1


Paris Saint-Germain have been crowned champions of France despite the season being ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

France's top-flight season was called to a halt on Tuesday and after a meeting on Thursday, Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) CEO Didier Quillot confirmed that the Parisiens have been handed the title on the basis of points-per-game.

Lorient, top of Ligue 2 when football came to a halt in March because of the coronavirus, have been promoted as champions.

Quillot added that he hoped that cup competitions in France could be completed in August behind closed doors, subject to approval from UEFA, with Europa League places being allocated to the winners. As it stands Lille have been awarded a Europa League spot, however it is unclear who might join them.

PSG play Saint Etienne Coupe de France and Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue. If those games are able to go ahead and PSG win both, the spots will go to Nice and Reims via league position. Lyon and Saint Etienne will qualify if they beat the newly-crowned champions in either final.

If the games do not go ahead then it is expected that Nice and Reims will be awarded the spots. 

'We were genuinely ready to finish the season like the Germans & Spanish,' Quillot said, while also confirming the goal is to start the new season by August 22. 'But there were government decisions made which we respect.'

It was also confirmed that two teams will be relegated from Ligue 1 and two promoted, meaning Lens will come up along with Lorient, while Amiens and Toulouse will drop down to Ligue 2.

The decision is likely to have massive ramifications and could lead to a string of appeals from clubs to have missed out on promotion or to have been relegated.

In finishing the season, Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Rennes have qualified for next season's Champions League. Marseille will appear in the competition for the first time since 2013/14, while Rennes will make their debut.

Third-bottom Nimes, although in the relegation zone, will keep their place in the top flight, given there will be no Ligue 2 play-offs and a chance for a third team to earn promotion from the second tier.

๐ŸŸ LES MERLUS SONT DE RETOUR EN LIGUE 1 ! ๐Ÿงก pic.twitter.com/mRsHNc65l2

— FC LORIENT ๐ŸŸ (@FCLorient) April 30, 2020

 L'Equipe reported that of the three governing bodies within the organisation, the first voted on Thursday morning, the second will vote on Thursday afternoon, and the third will vote in early May.

The season's last round of fixtures were played on March 7 and 8, and the final standings see PSG sitting 12 points clear of second-placed Marseille with a game in hand.

The decision means PSG have won their third-consecutive league trophy, and the ninth title in their history.

On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced by France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that the return of games will not be authorised before September, even behind closed doors, as part of the next stage of the country's lockdown plans.

In a statement, Philippe said: 'The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019-20 football season cannot return.'

A week prior to the announcement, the league had announced plans to resume on June 17, but that was curtailed by the French government.   

Meanwhile, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and general secretary Theodore Theodoridis have spoken to leagues in Europe, including Ligue 1 and the Premier League, and asked them for a detailed plan on how they will finish the campaign.

France's decision to end the season prematurely and give PSG the title has raised further questions over what the Premier League plan to do if they cannot finish their own campaign.

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