What if Ligue 1 became the first European championship to relocate a regular season match abroad? This is precisely the ambition of the Professional Football League (LFP), which hopes “laboratory server” and “will take official steps to obtain an exceptional exemption “, AFP informed Thursday (October 21).
With the agreement of the two clubs, the LFP hopes to be able to relocate the meeting between Lyon and Monaco, scheduled for the weekend of February 5-6, 2022. But for the moment, nothing has been done. This operation remains subject to exemption from Fifa.
The LFP has never masked its desire to promote its championship internationally. The body has been trying to establish itself in China for several years already. In 2018 and 2019, the Champions Trophy finals were held in Shenzen. The idea of scheduling a match on Sunday at 1 p.m. every weekend is also not trivial. This schedule is, in fact, conducive to wide distribution in the country.
But for now, the LFP is struggling to gain recognition for its championship abroad, which remains largely underexposed. International TV rights for Ligue 1 are estimated at around 75 million euros per year until 2024, against nearly 800 million for La Liga and 1.5 billion euros for the Premier League.
Why this match?
Olympique Lyonnais and Monaco are two “pictures of Mark”, who speak abroad and are likely to attract audiences. The date chosen on the 5th or 6th is not by chance either: the weekend is far enough away from European Cup or selection matches, and therefore does not prevent the two teams from making a long trip.
Above all, the two clubs have each forged strong ties with China. One of Lyon’s shareholders is Chinese, as are some of the club’s sponsors. As for AS Monaco, President Dmitri Rybolovlev maintains very close commercial ties with China.
Not sure, however, that a Lyon-Monaco (instead of a Monaco-Lyon) would have the same enthusiasm on the Lyonnais side. The idea of a relocation would very likely have aroused the anger of Lyon supporters, whose community is much larger than that of Monegasques.
Have there been any precedents?
Some championships have already said their desire to schedule matches outside their borders. But they encountered a strict refusal from Fifa. This is particularly the case with La Liga. The Spanish body tried, in vain, to organize a Girona-Barcelona match in Miami during the 2018-2019 season, then a Villarreal-Atlético de Madrid meeting the following year.
In 2020, the Commission of “partners” of the international federation had decided by opposing the official matches relocated in a foreign country (except Super Cups), confirming the position of Fifa. If the first federation comes to give its agreement, it would therefore be a big one in European football and Ligue 1 would be a pioneer in this area.
And the carbon footprint in all of this?
Traveling from Lyon to Monaco does not have the same carbon impact as a Lyon-Shanghai. If the train, rather than the plane, does not yet seem subject to a real reflection within the French clubs, the two teams will have no other choice but to take the plane to go to Shanghai. . The equivalent of almost 10,000 kilometers as the crow flies and … more than 15 tonnes of CO2 emissions (for a plane with more than 220 seats, according to the government calculation site act for the transition).
– Fair Play for the Planet (@ FairPlay4Planet) January 28, 2021
Note that a Lyon-Monaco trip is about 300 km as the crow flies, 69.5 kg of CO2 emissions by plane and only 522 g by train. As a reminder, last January, Olympique Lyonnais joined Fair play for planet, the first ecological label recognizing clubs and sporting events with an environmental commitment.