French leagues reach financial agreement with broadcasters and reaffirm plan to finish season

Neymar Kylian Mbappe PSG Paris Saint-Germain 2019-20
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After weeks of negotiations, a settlement has been reached which it is hoped will help secure clubs' futures during the coronavirus crisis

The French Professional Football League (LFP) has announced it has reached a financial agreement with broadcasters Canal+ and beIN Sports for the payment of television rights.

The discussions with the two broadcasters, who show Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches, lasted several weeks.

As the league season ground to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic, TV rights payments were stopped, forcing club presidents to organise themselves in an attempt to find common ground with the broadcasters.

Payments will be made for matches which have already been broadcast, though it has not yet been specified what has been agreed for the matches which have been postponed.

It is hoped payments will now allow clubs in France the breathing space required to financially survive the crisis.

An official statement from the LFP on the agreement with beIN Sports said: “This agreement takes into account the unprecedented situation facing clubs, the LFP and French football at the moment, while beIN is also facing extremely difficult circumstances.”

A separate statement on the agreement with Canal+ added: “The Canal+ Group and the LFP would like to thank the four presidents of Ligue 1 clubs, Messrs Nasser Al-Khelaifi (PSG), Jacques-Henri Eyraud (OM), Jean-Pierre Rivere (Nice) and Olivier Sadran (Toulouse), who entered into a constructive dialogue and thus succeeded in achieving a favourable outcome.

“Discussions continue regarding the potential resumption of the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 championships with the ambition of finding a spectacle that meets expectations, while preserving the health of all.”

Another statement furthered the LFP’s hopes that players can return to training in the coming weeks with matches returning soon after that, providing all necessary health precautions are taken.

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It is hoped players can return to their clubs in the week beginning May 11 for a complete medical assessment, with daily medical monitoring from that point on.

Earlier this week, the LFP outlined plans to complete the league season behind closed doors by the end of July. The plans involve resuming the current league season by June 17 and, if all goes as planned, could allow the 2020-21 season to begin in late August.

In Ligue 1, champions Paris Saint-Germain are 12 points clear of Marseille at the top of the table while Rennes and Lille are fighting for third and several clubs are still involved in the relegation battle. In Ligue 2, the top five teams are separated by just four points, with only eight points between 11th and 19th place at the bottom end of the table.