French football to return on July 31 with Coupe de la Ligue final

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Neymar PSG Paris Saint-Germain 2019-20
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Two cup finals will take place on consecutive Fridays in late July to mark the return from the coronavirus break

The postponed Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue finals will take place on July 24 and 31, respectively, the French Football Federation (FFF) has confirmed.

Both matches were postponed in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, with prime minister Edouard Philippe announcing all sporting events had been halted in an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19.

Although that led to the premature conclusion of Ligue 1, with final places in the table decided on a points-per-game basis, the FFF delayed a decision regarding the two cup finals, giving rise to the possibility the showpiece events could go ahead at a later date.

With the virus largely under control in France, provisional dates in late July were put forward as possibilities.

The FFF confirmed those dates on Friday, with the Coupe de France final between Paris Saint-Germain and Saint-Etienne set for July 24.

PSG will then contest the Coupe de la Ligue finale a week later, with Lyon their opponents on that occasion.

The French champions recently returned to training, with three players and a member of the club's staff testing positive for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, after the departures of Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani upon the expiration of their contracts, Thomas Tuchel believes Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League prospects are "different but not impossible".

Up to 5,000 supporters are expected to be allowed into the Stade de France to watch the two cup matches after it was confirmed last week that stadiums will be able to open at a reduced capacity next month.

It will be the last iteration of the Coupe de la Ligue following a September 2019 decision to suspend the competition, owing to a desire to reduce the French football season's schedule.

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While the two cup finals will be held to signal the close of the 2019-20 season, the 2020-21 season will begin on the weekend of August 22.

The Champions League final is scheduled for August 21, and the Ligue 1 schedule will be adjusted for Paris Saint-Germain or Lyon should either said make it to that final game.

There will be five midweek matchday throughout the upcoming season, with the season running through May 23.