French football season suspended ‘until further notice’

Paris St Germain’s victory over Borussia Dortmund was played in an empty stadium. (AP pic)

PARIS: The French football season has been suspended “until further notice” because of the coronavirus outbreak, the LFP, which runs the elite Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, announced on Friday.

In a statement, the league said it had taken a “unanimous” decision to stop playing with immediate effect at an emergency meeting on Friday, having previously said games would continue to be played behind closed doors until mid-April.

Covid-19 has already killed 61 people and infected almost 2,900 in France, according to official statistics.

The move came after French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced that schools in France would close indefinitely to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and urged people over 70 and the infirm to stay home.

“As the president of the republic stressed yesterday, the collective interest must be placed above all else. The urgency today is to curb the epidemic, protect the most vulnerable and avoid travel,” the league said in a statement.

The move means France follows other leading European leagues in closing down the season, with all sport in Italy stopped until early April and the next two rounds of matches in La Liga in Spain postponed.

In addition, the Dutch and Swiss domestic leagues have been put on hold until the end of the month, while Portugal has announced its top two divisions will be suspended “indefinitely”.