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French league hikes up COVID-19 positives that will stop games

The French football league (LFP) announced on Friday that it was loosening the coronavirus medical protocols in the top two divisions to allow clubs to play even if 10 players have tested positive.

The LFP said it had taken the decision “in conjunction with the public authorities” and in response to “requests from clubs”.

Up to now, matches could be postponed after four cases at a club over eight consecutive days.

Under the new protocol, the LFP said, a club can fulfil fixtures if 20 of the 30 players registered for league matches, including at least one goalkeeper, test negative.

The LFP said the change came into immediate effect. It said its board of directors adopted the changes on Wednesday after pressure from clubs and “feedback from the first two rounds” of matches.

The LFP is at the start of deal with broadcaster Mediapro worth 1.25 billion euros (1.48 billion dollars) a season.

“It is out of the question not to play. If we don’t play the matches, we jeopardise our TV revenue,” a Ligue 1 club president told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Mediapro have lost a month with these postponements and have not been able to broadcast the flagship matches,” he added. “They’re going to get angry…”

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So far this season, the scheduled opening match, between Marseille and Saint-Etienne, was postponed after more than four Marseille players contracted coronavirus.

The Lens-Paris Saint-Germain match, already postponed to September 10 because PSG was in the Champions League final, is under threat because six Parisian players, including Neymar, have contracted the virus.

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