French Soccer’s Renegade President Would Like a Word. With Everyone.

French Soccer’s Renegade President Would Like a Word. With Everyone.

French Soccer’s Renegade President Would Like a Word. With Everyone.

French Soccer’s Renegade President Would Like a Word. With Everyone.

Aulas’s fiery remarks have created damaging fissures with other leading figures in French soccer, including Caiazzo and Didier Quillot, the chief executive of Ligue 1, which is known as L.F.P.

Quillot declined to discuss Aulas. “L.F.P. management has decided to work instead of speaking,” he said in an email provided by a league spokesman.

Caiazzo, who sits on the board of the Ligue 1, suggested Aulas was trying to rewrite history.

The comments by Philippe, the prime minister, in Parliament on April 28, in which he declared the season over, had set off a chain reaction, Caiazzo said. Within hours, the president of France’s soccer federation declared amateur and professional soccer over, and the top division’s main television partner announced it would cancel the remainder of its contract. Then came the league’s board meeting.

“At this time there were 1,000 deaths per day,” Caiazzo said. “Do you think somebody will put their hand up and say, “Sorry, I don’t think we will stop.’ We would have been outlaws.”

The league, in Aulas’s view, panicked. He said he was actually defending France’s interests when he argued against ending the season; the league, he said, now risks punishment by European soccer’s governing body for not trying to finish its campaign.

And events in the weeks and months that have followed do appear to support at least some of Aulas’s claims. France’s sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, surprised many recently when she suggested it was ultimately the league’s call to end the season, and UEFA’s president, Aleksander Ceferin, has described the decision as “premature.” The easing of restrictions in France, where shops and restaurants have gradually started to reopen, along with the resumption of play in Europe’s other top leagues, have made French soccer’s decision the exception rather than the rule.


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