PSG Crowned Ligue 1 Champion After Season Ends Prematurely

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PSG likely didn't need any favors, but the club has been crowned Ligue 1 champion for the third straight season–and seventh time in the last eight seasons–after the league abandoned the rest of the 2019-20 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Ligue de Football Professionnel made it official with a vote on Thursday.

PSG led Marseille by 12 points, with a game in hand, when play was suspended, and with the French government not allowing any sports leagues to resume until Sept. 1 at the earliest, the league pulled the plug on the remainder of the season in the nation's top two flights. 

As opposed to the Netherlands, which did not crown a champion, suspended promotion and relegation and only awarded European places based on the table when canceling the rest of its season, France has covered all the bases, according to ESPN. The final provisional table was determined on a points-per-game basis since not all teams had played the same amount of matches.

PSG will be champion, while Marseille will enter the Champions League group stage and third-place Rennes will go into the qualifying rounds. Lille and Reims will go into the Europa League group phase, and Nice will compete in the play-in rounds for the second-tier European competition. On the bottom end of the table, Amiens and Toulouse will be relegated (replaced by Ligue 2's top two sides Lorient and Lens), while Nimes, currently in the relegation playoff spot in 18th place, will be spared.

That ruling seems nice and tidy, but it won't necessarily play out that way. Last-place Toulouse, which had just 13 points on the season and was 14 points from safety, is already reportedly mulling legal action according to comments made by its club president, using its inability to try to play its way to survival to appeal to the LFP.

Lyon is also threatening legal action after claiming that a three-week playoff format the club proposed as a solution went unheard. Lyon, which finished in seventh place and 10 points out of a Champions League qualifying spot, noted the financial fallout of not being able to qualify for European competition in its complaint.

There are bigger issues in France for the association to handle, with beIN Sports and Canal+ reportedly refusing to pay out the remainder of the season's TV rights money, which amounts to over $200 million. According to the New York Times, the French league is seeking a bridge loan to replace those lost funds.

As for PSG, it may still return to action if UEFA can find a way to resume the Champions League. The French power was one of four teams to punch a quarterfinal ticket before the competition was suspended, with PSG battling back to beat Borussia Dortmund in an empty Parc des Princes in the second leg of the round of 16. 

The club's president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, has already stated that the club would look for an approved place abroad to stage the "home" legs of future rounds, should the competition go on. UEFA has targeted a rescheduled Aug. 29 date in Istanbul for the final, though a decision on whether the competition can actually resume in any capacity, given all the moving parts and variables, is expected to be made in late May. Lyon is also impacted by UEFA's pending decision, with the club holding a 1-0 aggregate lead over Juventus after the first leg of the round of 16.