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Friday, October 22, 2021

‘We have no choice’ – Strasbourg’s Kone backs decision to end Ligue 1 season due to coronavirus

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The defender believes the French league had no option but to end the 2019-20 campaign, but he has questions over what comes next

Strasbourg defender Lamine Kone has said he supports the French government’s decision to end the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons, saying the coronavirus pandemic left it with little choice.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Tuesday that no sporting events will be allowed to take place until September, bringing domestic football to a close for the 2019-20 campaign.

With the season suspended since March, the French professional league (LFP) announced plans to restart the campaign on June 17 last week.

But Philippe’s announcement shut the door on that possibility, ​with Kone insisting that the prime minister made the only decision he could have as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in France 

“It makes sense, because we are in crisis and with this pandemic it’s better like this,” Kone told Goal. “But for the competitor, it’s hard. I would like to play matches, see fans again. Unfortunately, for the health of all, we have no choice. We must trust what the prime minister announced.”

“If we must wait until August or September, it will be very, very long. But it’s not for nothing that this decision was made,” the former Sunderland defender added.

Prior to Philippe’s announcement, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a similar declaration last week that led to the Eredivisie ending their 2019-20 campaign.

The Dutch top-flight opted to not name a champion as well as cancel promotion and relegation, but Ligue 1 will reportedly do both as they look to settle any outstanding issues in the season.

French football authorities are due to meet in May to discuss how the competition will be resolved in terms of league champions, European places and promotion and relegation.

The uncertainty over how Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 will settle those questions is weighing heavily on Kone, who is looking for clarity in an uncertain time. 

“I would like to know what will happen after … When will we resume and with what formula?” Kone asked. “If we start a new season, how? With the same teams? I have a lot of questions about contracts also.

“But today, I know that the (Strasbourg) president (Marc Keller) and the coach (Thierry Laurey) don’t have the answers.”

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