L’Équipe report this afternoon that the LFP – Ligue 1 authorities – have abandoned the project consisting of playing February’s Monaco-Lyon fixture in Shanghai.
The scrapping of the plans is notably due to the permissions that would have been needed to organise the event, as well as Covid-19 restrictions in place with regard to travelling to China. Nevertheless, the LFP have told L’Équipe that the aim of holding league matches abroad is still in place, so as to “develop Ligue 1 internationally”.
Although the two clubs had initially agreed to the project, Monaco vice-president Oleg Petrov and Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas soon pointed out that in this specific scenario, the logistics of travel, quarantine, and the fixture list made it unlikely.
It was understood that the league authorities were looking to develop French football’s profile abroad in response to its relatively low broadcasting rights deals outside of France – a total of €73m annually, compared to €710m for Spanish football and €1.4bn for English football. With several editions of the Trophée des Champions being played abroad already, the LFP is now looking to move league games away as well. However, this would require FIFA approval – with world football’s governing body already turning down two similar requests from La Liga.