Following today's LFP board of directors decision, Olympique de Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud spoke about the postponement of Ligue 1 fixtures.
“Olympique de Marseille have suffered three postponements of their Ligue 1 fixtures since the start of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, several of our opponents have unfortunately seen more than 10 of their players affected by the virus.
"At the end of the next Ligue 1 matchday, OM will be two matches behind its competitors for several weeks, a truly unique situation in the history of Ligue 1. Before the board of directors meeting this morning, the new dates of these delayed matches were not known. One thing is certain: these meetings cannot be played in the first half of the season due to an overloaded schedule.
"From here forward, OM will play for several months with at least two games in-hand, which raises an obvious problem of fairness in sports competition.
"This situation creates a direct prejudice against us and the Club has tried to propose solutions to both ease the effects, but also meet the needs of our broadcasters. Indeed, postponing one or more matches involving teams with a larger audience is a very problematic handicap for broadcasters.
"Thus, OM proposed to Lens that we play the postponed game this Saturday, so that OM can be broadcast on the prime time slot provided for these posters. Lens did not want to accept this solution.
"This situation is totally dysfunctional and shows once again the need to radically rethink our formats, our regulations and the attractiveness of French football. "
Following his comments, Jacques-Henri Eyraud welcomed the strong positions of a large part of the board, and in particular of the President and the General Director of the LFP, to work on a modification of the regulations in order to prevent this situation from happening again.
The current situation raises two imperatives:
- First of all, that of reforming the principle of postponing. In a strong league, no club, including Olympique de Marseille, should be able to oppose a solution that favors the general interest of French football. And the general interest is, in this specific case, to meet the needs of broadcasters, financiers of our economy, as recent news painfully demonstrates. In European competitions, UEFA requires clubs to have a list of 13 suitable players and if it is not possible to play, the match is lost by forfeiture.
- Then, that of working on a new competition format that is more competitive and meets the needs of broadcasters.
The competitiveness and attractiveness of French football are at stake.