Lyon Looking For Sizeable Reimbursement

Lyon Looking For Sizeable Reimbursement
Although a new Ligue 1 season is upon us, there is still an element of unfinished business when it comes to the previous campaign and with the curtailment of the 2019/20 edition still a hot topic, the discussion has moved in the direction of potential compensation. In any season which fails to finish its planned schedule, there are always going to be winners and losers and within the confines of French football, it is Olympique Lyonnais who feel they have lost out the most.

After a season which saw them go all the way to the Champions League Semi-final and lose to eventual winners Bayern Munich, their prolonged entry in the competition had an element of win or bust attached to it.

Because after a seventh place finish in Ligue 1, all domestic entry routes into European football the following season were blocked off and if the club were to appear on the continental stage once more, they would have to do it the hard way.

Unfortunately, they were no match for the brilliant Bayern Munich and with no foreign exploits to look forward to this season, the discussions regarding the curtailment of Ligue 1 have come back to the forefront.

With nothing in the way of Champions or Europa League dates in the diary, club president Jean-Michel Aulas will hope a shortfall in revenue can be found by other means and the price he has put on this, is €117.7m.

That is the figure that he has demanded in terms of compensation for an incomplete season and the fact that Olympique Lyonnais cannot bulk up their bank balance via UEFA competition, may have just solidified his case somewhat further.

For anyone wondering how Aulas has come to such a figure, roughly €50m would have been generated from an appearance in either of the two major European club tournaments this season and the rest is the value deemed as fair reimbursement for a suspension in action.

The conclusion that has come from the 71-year-old, is that Ligue 1 can absorb such a payment due to the sizeable television revenues that will come with the contract they have with beIN Sports and the £1billion plus that they will receive for each of the next four seasons.

However, the powerbrokers within Ligue 1 do not share the same ideals when it comes to recompense and although it was certainly a tough decision to fold their cards early, they still believe that it was the correct one.

Of course, it is not just Olympique Lyonnais who feel slighted by such a choice and if their quibbles come from the inability to compete on a European midweek front, one must also take into account the teams that suffered the drop to Ligue 2.

Admittedly Tolouse took their own relegation with good grace and after registering just 0.46 points per game (PPG), it would be rather churlish for them to cry foul. Then again, the same cannot be said Nimes or Amiens.

Both clubs believed they had enough time to turn round their respective sinking ships and in doing so could have still been operating within Ligue 1 this season. Then again, we will never know if this was to be wishful thinking or not.

What is wishful thinking though, is financial compensation for both they and Aulas’ men because if the latter get a sizeable payment to finally end the issue, the begging bowl from the two relegated clubs would soon follow.

Therefore, the consensus is that although the early season fold was far from universally popular, it must now be left as a mere footnote in history and from here on in, the focus lies simply the 2020/21 French football season.


Written by Dan Tracey

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