Coronavirus: Amiens’ Ligue 1 relegation ‘like a blow from a sword’

Amiens coach Luka Elsner has likened the decision to relegate his team from Ligue 1 to “a blow from a sword”.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) announced on Thursday its decision to finish the 2019-20 season and determine the standings on a points-per-game basis, with the coronavirus pandemic having forced French prime minister Edouard Philippe to ban sporting events until September.

Amiens coach Luka Elsner

Paris Saint-Germain were awarded the Ligue 1 title, but Amiens and Toulouse were relegated to the second tier and will be replaced by Lorient and Lens for the 2020-21 campaign.

The Eredivisie became the first league to call an end to its season this week, though it crowned no champions and promotion and relegation between the top two tiers was cancelled.

Amiens, Toulouse and Lyon – who finished seventh and will miss out on European football next season for the first time since 1996-97 unless they win the Coupe de France or Champions League – have all stated they could launch legal challenges against the decision.

Elsner was left thoroughly disappointed and assured Amiens will take “all possible recourse” to retain their Ligue 1 status.

“I have never experienced a jolt like this since I’ve been in football,” Elsner told Courrier Picard.

“Generally, you are in control of your own destiny and your performances in football, but I did not expect such a quick decision.

“It’s like a blow from a sword, it’s cut clean. I’m flabbergasted.”

He added: “In sport, the basic principle is that the chances are equal at the start and they are equal at the finish.

“Let the decisions be made on the pitch, but when they aren’t we cannot talk about sporting equity.

“[Amiens intend] to fight against this decision with all possible recourse.”

by Tom Webber

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