The former Prime Minister returned, at the microphone of RMC, on his controversial decision of April 28.
“The 2019-2020 season of professional sports, in particular that of football, will not be able to resume”. This is what Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced to the National Assembly. At the time, the French Ligue 1 championship had been at a standstill since mid-March, coronavirus requires. And the foreign leagues were going to get the approval of their respective governments to resume. Not in France. Curtain.
Need for clarity
Now “simple” mayor of Le Havre, Edouard Philippe returns to this decision this Tuesday, on the airwaves ofRMC. “It’s a decision that was valid for professional sport, including football,” he explains. There are plenty of players in the professional world who tell us that we have to make a decision. Some people think you have to decide to quit right away, others say you have to wait … There are lots of different opinions. Faced with a delicate situation, a health crisis whose imperative is first and foremost to preserve health, I am making a clear, tough decision, I know it. (…) When you are making difficult decisions in times of uncertainty and you don’t have all the information, you better be clear. I tried to be. It had drawbacks, but at least it was clear. ”
Recall that the French Ligue 1 championship was officially stopped two days after the announcement of the Prime Minister on April 30, by decision of the Professional Football League (LFP). The 2020-21 fiscal year started well before the other championships on the Old Continent, on August 22, on the eve of the Champions League final between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich (0-1). Obviously, we often think that the German, English, Spanish and Italian championships had come to an end after the spring break. “I allow myself to observe that the only time when I was told that it was a good decision, it is when Lyon and Paris were in the semi-finals of the Champions League”, smiles Mr. Philippe, in the form of a “wink, because it is a serious subject”.
“The real truth is that the economic model of professional football is going to have to change at high speed”
More seriously, the former Prime Minister refutes the idea of pressure from certain L1 presidents in one direction or the other. “I tried to listen to what the actors of the professional world were saying,” he insists. Given the evolution of the epidemic at that time, the information I had, I made this decision. I’m the type to take responsibility for my decisions. That doesn’t mean that, six months later, with lots of additional information, I don’t tell myself that we could have done otherwise, that’s life. I take responsibility for my decisions. ”
A claw strike
Decisions which have in any case had a strong impact on the finances of Ligue 1 clubs, more than ever in the hard compared to their European competitors. “The real truth is that the economic model of professional football is going to have to change at a high speed. And this because there is the pressure related to sanitary conditions, empty stadiums, but it is not only that. There is a small topic on TV rights, he squeals. The last time I watched it was neither the Prime Minister nor the government that negotiated the rights and chose the broadcaster. ” In this case, the Sino-Spanish group Mediapro, which represents an XXL fiasco for the League and professional football. Canal + has since taken over. “If I am asked if my decision was the right one, we must be able to ask this question of those who made the decision on the rights. The questioning of the economic model of professional football is not only linked to this decision, ”he adds.
Finally, Mr. Philippe did not completely rule out the idea that this decision to stop the championships was, at least in part, guided by more political than sporting considerations. At least, he specifies, not without irony, that a Prime Minister “makes political decisions, decisions that take into account all dimensions.” The sporting / economic dimension has perhaps been somewhat forgotten in favor of the image …