Coronavirus wrap: Mixed emotions in Ligue 1, The Hundred put back until 2021

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

Paris St Germain have been crowned Ligue 1 champions but Lyon have threatened legal action while The Hundred’s inaugural season has been put back until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier League clubs are also preparing to discuss ‘Project Restart’ in a bid to resume the top flight in England.

PSG were awarded the title in France on Thursday after the French government cancelled the 2019-20 sporting season.

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“We understand, respect and support the decisions taken by the French Government to end the championship. Health, as the government has always said, must be everyone’s priority,” PSG chairman and Nasser Al-Khelaifi told the club’s official website.

“In these difficult times, I hope this trophy will bring a little happiness and hope to all our supporters, and I am grateful to them for their unwavering support which helps drive Paris St Germain forward.”

But Lyon, who have come seventh after the league was finalised using a points-per-game system, could resort to legal action after they missed out on a European spot for the first time since 1996.

In Portugal, the Primeira Liga is set to return at the end of May behind closed doors after Government officials gave the green light on Thursday evening, subject to approval from health authorities.

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board has pushed back The Hundred until the summer of 2021.

The competition, featuring eight city-based franchises rather than the traditional 18 counties, was due to start this summer.

Lack of fans at the stadium, the furlough of staff at host venues, and travel uncertainty and availability of overseas stars were three primary reasons behind the decision.

The Hundred was set to start in July (ECB)
The Hundred was set to start in July (ECB)

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer.

“Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won’t get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.”

Earlier in the day, former England skipper Michael Vaughan awarded Captain Tom Moore honorary membership of the national side on his 100th birthday.

Moore – appointed as an honorary colonel as part of his celebrations – has raised over £30million for the NHS by walking in his garden during the coronavirus lockdown.

“There are 695 men and 160 women who are part of that special club of English Test cricketers,” Vaughan said during the virtual presentation to the staunch Yorkshire and England cricket fan.

“We all want to welcome you Captain Tom to our team. As you celebrate a maiden century in the company of your family, enjoying the adulation and affection of a nation, this is our way and our time to say ‘thank you’.”

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he “misses our world” with normal life turned upside down by the pandemic.

The Portuguese knows “we have to be patient” in this fight, but Premier League clubs will discuss the possibility of restarting competition in June when they gather for a shareholders meeting on Friday.

“If we play football behind closed doors I’d like to think that football is never behind closed doors,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“With cameras, it means that millions and millions are watching. So if one day we walk into this empty stadium, it will not be empty, not at all.”

An initial programme for the first seven days of racing when the sport eventually resumes in Britain is set to be published in the coming week.

The last meetings to take place were at Wetherby and Taunton on March 17, both behind closed doors. No date has yet been set for a resumption, and while it will only do so with the appropriate Government approval, planning continues to take place.

The BBBC is hopeful of resuming fights in July (Zac Goodwin/PA)
The BBBC is hopeful of resuming fights in July (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The British Boxing Board of Control is also hopeful that it will be able to resume staging fights behind closed doors in July.

A statement read: “Depending on Government decisions it is hopeful that professional boxing will commence in July. We will continue to use our best endeavours to do so and we are working closely with promoters.

“Initially, it is unlikely that crowd attending promotions will be permitted.”

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has announced a return date of May 17 at Darlington Raceway, meaning it joins the UFC in announcing plans to resume in the United States – the mixed martial arts organisation will be back on May 9 in Florida.

Meanwhile, the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe have been rescheduled for August 26-September 4, 2022, following the rescheduling of the 2020 Paralympics until next year.

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