Relegated Amiens to analyse decision to end season before next move

(Reuters) - Amiens, relegated from the French Ligue 1 after the season was ended amid the COVID-19 crisis on Thursday, will study reasons behind the decision before planning any legal challenge, the club’s president said.

The 2019-20 season was suspended with 10 matches remaining as part of the French government’s steps to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus last month.

With some teams having played 27 matches and others 28, the French League (LFP) drew up the final standings according to a performance index -- number of points per game weighed by head-to-head record, resulting in Amiens and Toulouse going down.

“It is an injustice because Amiens could not defend until the end on the pitch to remain in Ligue 1,” Amiens president Bernard Joannin said in a Facebook live broadcast.

“I’ll fight with all the teams to assert our right, because I think this decision isn’t right. We will wait for the minutes of the LFP board of directors.

“There will be the passage to the general assembly, and we reserve the right to go further so that justice passes.”

Paris St Germain were awarded a seventh league title in eight years while seventh-placed Olympique Lyonnais, who missed out on European qualification, said they would possibly appeal against the LFP’s decision.

French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said the aggrieved clubs were welcome to explore legal options but also called for restraint.

“If they want to go to court, let them go,” Maracineanu told RMC Sport.

“The sports movement is autonomous... This is valid for professional sport and amateur sport alike. In this situation, there are some who are content and some who are dissatisfied.

“I appeal to everyone’s solidarity and responsibility. I appeal to the wealthy and better off that they don’t split hairs... We must also think of others and society. The world must know how to take its losses.”

The new season will start on Aug. 22-23 at the latest and likely to be held without fans as popular events are banned until September in France.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry