Reims owner Caillot warns that half of Ligue 1 clubs could go bankrupt

Speaking to Le Parisien, Stade de Reims President Jean-Pierre Caillot warned that the financial difficulties facing French football could result in bankruptcy for a number of clubs before the end of the 2020/21 season.

This economic crisis has been caused by the inability to get fans into stadiums owing to the pandemic, but also by the fact that domestic TV rights broadcaster Mediapro is currently refusing to make its monthly payments to teams, demanding a COVID-19 discount on their portion of the €1.172bn a year broadcast deal.

“It is not taboo to say it. Today, TV rights are part of our economic base and from the moment that Mediapro, the principal broadcaster, doesn’t pay us anymore… The LFP and its president Vincent Labrune and working to find solutions which is not simple. But when you don’t have any TV rights money, ticketing money, hospitality money, you’ll have to explain to me how we are supposed to keep our business running. So yes, very clearly, more than half of the Ligue 1 clubs could end up in a position of not being able to pay their people.”

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“If the league cannot get a new loan, which is far from assured at this point, I think that in February or March, there will be a lot of clubs who will not be able to pay their players and employees. Because we often forget that a football club is not just 11 players.”

Rudi Garcia warns PSG: “We are not going to come as victims.”

Speaking on Téléfoot Chaine following Lyon’s 3-1 victory at Metz, manager Rudi Garcia looked forward to next weekend’s clash with league leaders PSG.

“With this win, we will be able to go to the Parc with a bit more ambition. PSG are above everyone else, when they play at 100%. They have a big match on Tuesday (vs Basaksehir) and a qualification to go and get in the Champions’ League. We have things to do and we will do them. We are not going to come as victims. Even though we know that PSG are better than us at 100%.”

“We are going to look at what could happen at PSG between now and next Sunday. The most important thing, is to have all our strengths. Sadly, we lost Cherki (red carded). We are going to do everything to preserve our other four attackers. We will need everyone to get a result in Paris.”

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Giannelli Imbula to undergo FC Nantes trial

20 Minutes report that 28-year-old French midfielder Giannelli Imbula will undergo trial with Ligue 1 side FC Nantes on Friday.

This has been decision taken by Les Canaris’ new manager Raymond Domenech – Imbula has been training with Ligue 2 side EA Guingamp since October, but has not signed for them yet. His career has gone completely off of the rails following his move from Marseille in 2015 to FC Porto. Since, he has had spells at Stoke City, Toulouse, Rayo Vallecano, Lecce and Sochi.

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Canal + to give up existing minority broadcast rights for Ligue 1 in power move

Speaking to Le Figaro, CEO of Canal Plus, Maxime Saada, announced that the broadcaster had decided to give up on their current rights to show two Ligue 1 matches per weekend, in an attempt to trigger a completely fresh round of bidding on the rights, following the imminent dissolution of principal broadcaster Téléfoot Chaine.

In the interim, Saada is suggesting that Ligue 1 operates under a pay per view system.

Saada has decided that after 5th February, Canal + will no longer pay to broadcast the two matches a weekend that they currently have rights to, the Saturday evening match and the Sunday afternoon match, which the outlet is paying €330m annually for.

Saada is now seeking to force the LFP into initiating a new tender for the rights covering the 2020-24 period:

“We have finally come to the conclusion on the Canal + side that it is in the interest of all the parties to go to a bidding process. We have therefore sent a letter to the LFP to indicate that we are giving up our rights to lot 3 which beIN Sports licensed to us… We will keep our lot until 5th February as we have paid for up until that date.”

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Saada, who had initially publicly stated that Canal + would like to recover the totality of the Ligue 1 rights from Mediapro, who currently show the other 8 matches per Ligue 1 gameweek, now takes a different tune.

“There has been a loss of confidence between Canal + and those in charge of French football. We have not been treated correctly in recent years. We do not forget either the postponement of matches by the LFP without consultation during the “gilets jaunes” movement, nor the additional money requested to postpone the kickoff of the Sunday evening match by 15 minutes, and even less so the celebrations of many presidents when Canal + returned empty-handed from the 2018 call for tenders. I would point out that Vincent Labrune had nothing to do with it. He is also probably one of the few who can restore confidence.”

Saada argues that Ligue 1 has been overvalued for years:

“We believe that Ligue 1 has been subsidised for many years. No broadcaster has succeeded in making it profitable. It is even doubly subsidised since a club like PSG, which undoubtedly represents a substantial part of the intrinsic value of Ligue 1, invests at a loss.”

“Ligue 1 as a product has been degraded in absolute terms. Broadcasting it on Téléfoot greatly reduced the exposure of the competition… in addition, the arrival of Mediapro contributed to the exponential growth of piracy… Since the bidding process in May 2018, we have adapted.”

Saada makes reference to Canal Plus’ recent acquisition of the rights to Top 14 rugby, Moto GP, and exclusive distribution agreements with beIN Sports and Disney Plus, as well as the return of the Champions’ League from the beginning of next season.

“There is a structural problem of attractiveness for Ligue 1… Of course, you can’t just have clasicos on the air. That would not even be desirable. But can French football still support a system of more than 40 professional clubs, including 20 in Ligue 1? It is desirable that the clubs ask themselves the question of the attractiveness of their product and agree to reform. The world of rugby has understood this by creating the Top 14, a homogeneous and attractive championship.“

Rudi Garcia breaks down 5-0 derby win: “We were very good with high pressing.”

Speaking in a post-match press conference, Lyon manager Rudi Garcia explained how his side achieved a barnstorming 5-0 victory over St Étienne.

“We were very good with high pressing, the ambition to stretch St Étienne to develop the game. We were constant throughout the match. We did it in a good way. It is important to score on set-pieces, we worked on that and it paid off. We left the training centre with an incredible send-off thanks to the fans. It is maybe our most complete match, certainly. We could have scored more in the game. But 5-0 away from home in the derby, that doesn’t happen every day. It is historic. We were a bit behind on the statistics, I told the players that. We are back ahead, that was important. I continue to think that there is no standings in a table that counts in a derby. We were very good tactically and technically. Work pays off. The team that wants it more and who shows the most heart had won. That is what counts in a derby, not the starting XIs. I have won my three derbies with Lyon. We did not want PSG and Lille to run away. I am not forgetting that we are in third and that Monaco are coming back. It was very important to win.”

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Mauricio Pochettino: “I will never manage Barcelona nor Marseille.”

Speaking in an interview with RMC Sport, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino explained that there were two clubs that he could never manage.

“I will never manage Barcelona. That is not possible. I have this idea of life, a connection with a part of this city, that makes that impossible. Just like Marseille is also impossible for me.”

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Marseille fans call for the heads of Eyraud & McCourt in press conference

With the Old Port in the background, the groups of OM supporters yesterday held a press conference. The location, a stone’s throw from the town hall, the place where OM fans first discovered the faces of Frank McCourt and Jacques-Henri Eyraud, in August 2016, when the American acquired the club.

“When you attack the family, it defends itself,” summarised Christian Cataldo, the leader of the Dodgers supporter group. Representatives from Commando Ultra 84, South Winners, the MTP, the Fanatics, the Club des Amis de L’OM and the Dodgers were all present. An opportunity to speak for the first time since the attack on Marseille’s training centre on 30th January, and especially and above all, the events that followed with the letter of formal notice from OM and the threat of non-renewal of the supporters’ agreement. Cataldo also wanted to thank “all the people who have shown support. Even Mathieu Valbuena is with us. We put it in his head!”

The individuals present renewed their position of wanting owner Frank McCourt and President Jacques Henri Eyraud to exit.

“We no longer recognise them as board members at Marseille. You have succeeded in one thing: unifying everyone who loves OM and Marseille against you. We are sending you the third axe of your project, presented in 2016. In substance: “The club must give back what it owes to Marseille as a city.” It is time. Quit the club.”

Rachid Zeroual, who will be on trial on 22nd March for his involvement in the attack on the Marseille training centre, then took up the mantle, deploring the severity of the authorities’ actions: “There is no law against bad presidents, only against bad supporters.”

Zeroual also had time to praise rival club Lyon’s President: “Aulas is a real boss!”

“If McCourt wants to keep him (Eyraud), we will call for a protest, deposited to the local authorities. We will call to go down to the Canebière, we will ask all the Marseillais to come. We understood that he was going to cling to the rock… We wanted to calm things down, show that we are not savages. He could do some thinking, not be obtuse, see that everyone is against him.”

A couple of other notable faces were present, including ex-Marseille player Marcel Dib and rapper L’Algerino: ‘This is family! This manifestation is legitimate and important.It is bigger than the supporters. Me, before being an artist, I am a Marseillais. We have OM in our blood, it is our life, it gets handed from father to son.”

This was an event that united the old and young, Colette Cataldo, who will be 80 this spring, stated: “It makes me happy to see everyone united. I hope that it is going to bring us good fortune.”

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Fans could begin returning to stadiums in “3 to 4 weeks” – sports ministry

Speaking to BFMTV, the French government’s sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, announced that small experiments will begin with returning sports supporters back to stadiums in “3 to 4 weeks time.”

“We are working with the culture and tourism ministries to have experiments that should occur in 3 to 4 weeks. In these experiments, we could integrate all the new crisis technologies like vaccines, saliva or antibody tests, and also all the tools from the test, alert, protect strategy like QR codes that could be used.”

When asked about whether these experiments may begin in Lyon, as desired by the club’s president, Jean-Michel Aulas, Roxana Maracineanu did not confirm or deny this possibility:

“We have not taken the decision. But it was interesting to talk (last weekend) with Mr Aulas who is well advanced with a medical institution to work on his own protocol.”

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Marquinhos’ dad was punched by robbers

Le Parisien report that PSG captain Marquinhos’ dad was hit multiple times by two robbers who burgled the home whilst Les Parisiens were facing Nantes in Ligue 1 last night.

The 52-year-old sustained punches to the face, thorax and ribs. At around 21:40 local time, Marquinhos’ father called the police, explaining that he had gone into the garden to feed the dogs before being surprised by two men who pushed him inside the house.

The criminals searched the house in the presence of the Brazilian international’s two daughters, aged 13 and 16. They locked these three people in a dressing room before fleeing. According to the first investigations, the thieves got hold of three luxury bags, jewellery, various luxury items and the sum of €2,000 in cash. Investigators from the Versailles judicial police are now carrying out a formal investigation.

In a story, shared on Instagram by the player, his wife, Carol Cabrino, confirms the burglary, which took place “while his family was present in the residence. No one has suffered and everyone is doing well. More fear than harm,” wanted to reassure the mother of the family.

 

 

 

 

 

Les malfaiteurs ont fouillé la maison en présence des deux filles de la victime, âgée de 13 et 16 ans. Ils ont finalement enfermé ces trois personnes dans un dressing avant de prendre la fuite. Selon les premiers éléments, les voleurs auraient fait main basse sur trois sacs de luxe, sur des bijoux, divers objets de luxe et sur la somme de 2 000 euros en argent liquide. Les enquêteurs de la police judiciaire de Versailles sont chargés de mener les investigations.

Dans une story, partagée sur Instagram par le joueur, sa femme, Carol Cabrino, confirme le cambriolage, qui s’est déroulé « pendant que sa famille était présente dans la résidence ». « Personne n’a souffert et tout le monde va bien. Plus de peur que de mal », a voulu rassurer la mère de famille.

Dans la même soirée, le joueur argentin Angel Di Maria a été lui aussi cambriolé pendant la rencontre PSG-Nantes, alors que sa famille était également présente à son domicile de Neuilly-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine). Cette fois, les proches du joueur n’ont rien vu. Il s’agit, selon nos informations, de deux équipes de malfaiteurs distinctes. Depuis le début de l’année, c’est le troisième joueur cambriolé durant une rencontre du club. Les appartements de Mauro Icardi et Sergio Rico ont été cambriolés en janvier également à Neuilly-sur-Seine.

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FEATURE | Keylor Navas is PSG’s best goalkeeper in the QSI era

Those that have watched Ligue 1 closely for the last couple of years will know that Keylor Navas has elevated himself to the top of a very talented list of goalkeepers plying their trade in France.

Ligue 1 has arguably had the best collection goalkeepers in European football for some time but strangely Paris Saint-Germain has not been amongst the clubs boasting one, until now.

Salvatore Sirigu was the last goalkeeper PSG fans had any kind of affection for, but the efficient Italian famed for his shot-stopping was not of the level required to move the clubs ambitious project forward.

Kevin Trapp’s error-laden start to his time in the capital set alarm bells ringing early on and Alphonse Areola, although excellent at times, could not provide the kind of consistency and trust required for the club and its fans. Appreciation in any job breeds confidence and Navas has felt the warmth of the club and its supporters since arriving in the capital in 2019 for €15m.

Navas, 34, said: “I feel the affection of everyone here in Paris. Here at PSG, things are a little different (to Real Madrid) Everyone believes in me, and I try to give them confidence back every match.”

Which poses the question of why Real Madrid felt it necessary to replace the three-time Champions League winner during the peak of his career? Prior to Navas’ Madrid exit, manager Zinedine Zidane said: “I cannot image the team without Keylor Navas. He has always been an important player for us.”

It felt unwarranted at the time, but Real Madrid’s swoop for Thibault Courtois has not ever felt as though it was an upgrade on what they already had in Navas.

Real Madrid’s loss has undoubtedly been PSG’s gain. The French champions have been repeatedly linked with over-priced replacements such as Jan Oblak, Gianluigi Donnarumma and David de Gea. But smart business from Sporting Director Leonardo solved PSG’s long-standing problem position with a goalkeeper in better form than those mentioned, at a fraction of the price. PSG have often settled for mediocrity between the posts, which is perhaps a sacrifice the club was willing to make to compensate for the attacking talent they were able to boast.

The best goalkeepers always rise to the occasion on the biggest stage and previously, PSG’s shot-stoppers too often shied away in key moments. Kevin Trapp’s trepid performance in the 6-1 defeat to Barcelona in 2017 was amateurish and likely provided the trigger for his eventual departure from the club.

In comparison, Keylor Navas’ incredible 10-save display at Real Madrid in November 2019 helped PSG take a point from a game they were defensively poor in and should have been comprehensively beaten. This is the difference between the two. The acquisition of Navas has been a game changer. PSG have inherited a serial winner and an experienced campaigner with know-how of getting over the line in the biggest matches. For a club aiming to reach the summit of European club football, that is invaluable.

The Costa Rican’s ability to save penalty kicks is a welcome relief to many at the club and something PSG have struggled with for a long time. As Lionel Messi stepped up to take the penalty last week, the feeling was that it was not against the realms of possibility that Navas would save Messi’s effort, and so it proved. Some are already hailing the Costa Rican as the best goalkeeper in PSG’s history. That may be true, or maybe it is more a damning indictment of the level of goalkeeper that PSG have had in the last 20 years.

However, If the discussion must be had, then Bernard Lama should be in the conversation. Regardless, the addition of Navas is so far looking pound-for-pound the best piece of business in the QSI era. Sometimes a single signing can elevate a team of players and it was no coincidence that once PSG solved their goalkeeping issue, the club reached their first Champions’ League final.

Navas has helped take PSG to the next level and has provided the same influence that Virgil van Dijk had at Liverpool. The Costa Rican’s arrival has provided the club with an undisputed number one. For too long PSG have interchanged goalkeepers every few games which has caused panic and uncertainty. Competition for places is healthy but for goalkeepers there must be a clear hierarchy at big football clubs.

PSG spent four years in a merry-go-round between three goalkeepers who are currently first choice for their respective clubs. The treatment of Sirigu, Trapp and Areola during this time made no sense and saw the club to create problems for itself.

PSG are finally in safe hands and now boast a goalkeeper that complements so much of their outfield talent. The next step is for Navas to help his new teammates win the club’s first Champions’ League and his fourth overall.

L.D.

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