Houssem Aouar Lyon 2019-20

Lyon threaten legal action after Ligue 1 season ended early due to coronavirus outbreak

Lyon have announced they intend to appeal against the decision to end the Ligue 1 season early which meant they missed out on qualifying for European football for the first time since 1997 - and potentially sue the league's governing body (LFP) for millions of euros.

After the announcement by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that no football could take place before September, the LFP confirmed on Thursday that the season was over and that the championship and European places would be awarded on a points per game basis.

This means Paris Saint-Germain are awarded a third successive Ligue 1 title, while Marseille and Rennes take the other two Champions League places.

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Lyon meanwhile finish seventh, outside of the European places, and in a statement on Thursday evening say the league should have been resolved on the pitch rather than in the boardroom, even if it meant an alternative format.

They claim that the LFP has acted too quickly in cancelling the season, that this method does not meet the UEFA request that "sporting merit" determine European qualification, and that a fairer method would have been a series of play-offs to determine matters - although they admitted PSG are worthy champions.

Their statement reads: "This government position did not seem to impose, in a prohibitive way, such a final stop today from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2; the Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu having previously indicated the possibility of playing in August if the evolution of the health situation allowed it.

"Olympique Lyonnais then proposed as early as Tuesday that the League study an alternative solution which would allow the Championship to be ended and thus preserve the fairness inherent in any sporting competition, and to be in line with UEFA's proposals based on sporting merit according to objective, transparent and non-discriminatory principles.

"This solution shared by other clubs was based on the principle of play-offs and play-downs, a title of champion acquired by PSG, with a calendar limited to three weeks consistent with health constraints, and an innovative formula which normally could have interested broadcasters, currently lacking content, as well as sports betting and all other economic players in the football industry. This solution made it possible very precisely to meet UEFA's wish to go after national competitions.

"Given the judgment of the French Ligue 1 Championship, decreed today by the League, Olympique Lyonnais reserves the right to appeal against this decision and claim damages, in particular under the loss of chance and in light of the jurisprudence of other professional sports which are currently in progress, since the damage for the club amounts to several tens of millions of euros.

"Olympique Lyonnais sincerely congratulates the champions, PSG for Ligue 1 and Lorient for Ligue 2, who were proclaimed today and hopes that OL Feminin [the Lyon women's team] can quickly have the same consecration."