French League to take out loan due to coronavirus pandemic

Ligue 1 - Olympique de Marseille v Amiens SC
Ligue 1 - Olympique de Marseille v Amiens SC

(Reuters) - The French League (LFP) will take out a state guaranteed loan to pay clubs in its top two tiers the money they would have received from television broadcasts if the season had not been abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Monday.

The LFP decided to end the 2019-20 season on Thursday, with Paris St Germain being awarded the Ligue 1 title and Lorient crowned Ligue 2 champions.

PSG had a comfortable 12-point lead over second-placed Olympique de Marseille when professional soccer was suspended in March with 10 games left, as part of the French government's measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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"At a meeting on May 4, the LFP's general assembly adopted a resolution allowing the LFP to contract a state guaranteed loan (PGE) from its banking establishment," the LFP said in a statement.

"Thanks to this loan, the LFP will be able to pay Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs all of the sums still to be collected for audiovisual rights for the 2019/2020 season.

"These sums cover the last two instalments of audiovisual rights for the 2019/2020 season, respectively initially scheduled for April 5 and June 5, 2020 and will help support the cash flow of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs."

The decision to end the campaign has angered some clubs, with Olympique Lyonnais saying they will seek millions of euros in damages as they face being deprived of European competition for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Amiens, who were relegated from the top flight, have said they will study the reasons behind the decision before planning any legal challenge.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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