Ligue 1 postpones the First Match of the Season as Marseille Confirmed 3 COVID-19 Cases

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The French Ligue 1 has postponed the first match of the 2020-2021 season involving Marseille and Saint-Etienne because Marseille reported three confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The match which was initially planned to take place on Friday, 24 August 2020, has been postponed until 17 September 2020 if the spread of the pandemic is contained in Marseille then.

Recall that the French Ligue 1 had to suspend the 2019-2020 season in March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. After less than two months of suspending football in France, the league body in the country announced that the league has been canceled with at least 11 matches left to play.

Paris Saint Germain was declared the champions of the league despite topping Marseille with just 12 points. Unlike Lyon, Toulouse, and Amiens, Marseille decided not to agitate against the decision.

The second-placed team allowed their players to observe the then total lockdown until the restrictions were eased. With the permission of government authorities, they resumed training and started playing pre-season friendlies in preparation for the 2020-2021 season which was planned to start on Friday.

Before they confirmed that members of the team have contracted the deadly COVID-19, Marseille have been playing warm-up matches. The last warm-up match they played was against another French Ligue 1 team Nimes on August 9, 2020. The match ended 1-0 in favor of Marseille.

French Ligue 1 club Marseille and Nimes in a friendly match

A statement published on French Ligue 1 official website read: “In view of the medical results communicated by Olympique de Marseille on Tuesday 18 August, the national COVID commission has indicated to the LFP’s Competitions Commission that the virus is circulating within the Marseille club and proposed the postponement of the match Olympique de Marseille-AS Saint-Etienne – initially scheduled for 19:00 on Friday 21 August 2020, and counting for Round 1 of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 Uber Eats season.

“According to the protocol for the organization of matches, the LFP’s Competitions Commission has decided to postpone the match between Olympique de Marseille and AS Saint-Etienne to Wednesday 16 or Thursday 17 September 2020, subject to the evolution of health conditions at Olympique de Marseille. The final date will be determined in agreement with the match broadcaster.”

This means that no Ligue 1 game will be played on Friday but other schedules for matchday 2 which is on Saturday, August 22, will go ahead as planned. The Saturday’s fixtures are Bordeaux vs. Nantes and Lille vs. Rennes.