LFP requests 'emergency support plan' amid French football financial crisis

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The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has requested a multi-million euro rescue package in order to ease the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to the governing body, the interruption and subsequent restrictions introduced to French football as a result of Covid-19 have led to a huge shortfall in income. 

In a meeting held on Tuesday, the LFP resolved to meet with government representative to explore options on increasing financing and to put together an "emergency support plan". 

What's been said? 

"The LFP's Board of Directors met today to take stock of the financial situation of professional football for the 2020-21 season following the agreement made with Canal+ last Thursday on audiovisual rights," a statement from the LFP said.

"In terms of overall revenue, the income is €759.1 million instead of the €1,307.1 million budgeted by the clubs for the 2020-21 financial year. 

"To date, losses already amount to more than €1bn (excluding transfer window impact) if we add the consequences of the matches behind closed doors."

The LFP in turn requested a meeting with France's Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery, and the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports, although it was adamant that it would not call on the state to cover lost television revenue.

What is behind the crisis? 

Like most leagues in Europe and worldwide, Ligue 1 and the entire French football pyramid has been hugely affected by the coronavirus pandemic over the last 12 months. 

The LFP took the decision not to resume the 2019-20 season after suspending activities last March, leaving most French clubs inactive until the beginning of the current campaign. 

Once football did return, fans were barred from entry in a bid to avoid new infections, removing another income stream from hard-hit teams. 

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To compound matters, a lucrative television deal with Mediapro collapsed in December, leaving Ligue 1 without a domestic broadcast partner. 

A stop-gap deal with Canal+ has since been signed until the end of 2020-21, but the league is forecast to lose 49 per cent of its television revenue for the season.

Further reading:

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Di Maria to miss PSG's Champions League first-leg tie with Barca (Feb 9)
Marseille meltdown: Ex-Chelsea boss Villas-Boas at the centre of astonishing civil war (Feb 5)