France Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said France was right to end its football season, casting doubts on the wisdom of restarting Bundesliga.
“It was important for me to give primacy to the health and the psychological well-being of athletes over economic considerations, which, indeed, in the other countries, have taken precedence,” Roxana Maracineanu said on a visit to the French high-performance institute (INSEP) on the outskirts of Paris.
While the French league season has been declared over with Paris Saint-Germain champions, the Bundesliga resumed on Saturday behind closed doors.
“Each country was affected differently” by the coronavirus, said Maracineanu, who also pointed to the German federal system in which “the regions make their own decisions, whether it’s to reopen schools or resume sport.”
While “the stakes are not the same in Germany and France”, the minister questioned “the notion of fairness” in the event of the resumption of European competition, particularly the Champions League, where PSG have reached the last eight and Lyon hold a 1-0 lead over Juventus in the last 16-tier.
“There are some who have chosen to resume their championships, because, without doubt, and I know this from having discussed it with my counterparts from the major European footballing countries, it was economic issues that were at stake,” Maracineanu insisted.
“I think that in the period we are living through, a decision that was guided by a concern for health and the health aspect cannot be called into question,” she added.
The Ligue 1 decision has caused an outcry among some in football. Lyon’s president Jean-Michel Aulas, whose club was out of the European places when play was halted, has launched two legal actions.
Roxana Maracineanu said the pause could have been an opportunity for the sport to reflect.
“We could have taken advantage of this moment to ask ourselves questions other than simply ‘am I first, second or third?'”