FOOTBALL – The Ligue 1 season now resumes in two weeks, with an attractive Marseille – Saint-Étienne on August 21, but are all your players, on and off the pitch, ready for this comeback?
While about 20 L1 players recently tested positive for Covid-19, disrupting the summer preparation of several clubs (especially Strasbourg with 9 identified cases), a question is currently being asked to several unknowns: how are the clubs of the elite in its campaign of subscriptions and resubscriptions, while maintaining for the moment the indicator of 5000 spectators per game?
Certainly, as of August 15, the prefect of each department may exceptionally grant an exemption, after analyzing risk factors, which may allow this indicator to be revised upwards.
If this exemption can be extended from one match to another within the framework of a championship, the prefect can also decide to terminate it at any time, if the sanitary or organizational conditions are not met. more close.
And with the epidemic accelerating in recent days in France, there is reason to be pessimistic for the moment about an increase in the number of spectators per venue.
While waiting to learn more by the weekend of August 22, the 20 L1 clubs are adapting and tweaking as they can to sell their subscriptions for the 2020-2021 season, adopting different business strategies.
In StrasbourgIn the event that a match cannot accommodate all subscribers, which were 19,000 last season, each of them will have priority access to the stadium based on their seniority. Anyone will also be reimbursed up to 1/19 of the value of their subscription for each match they were unable to attend for these reasons.
Same process in Metz, where the 6,500 subscribers (as of August 4) “will only pay what they see”, according to the commercial director of the club interviewed by France Bleu Lorraine Nord.
Stade Rennes, after its excellent third place last season, had a record campaign with 15,000 subscriptions sold. according to Western france.
If you considered requesting a waiver for the first home game against Montpellier on August 29, the club naturally anticipates a locked indicator of 5,000 spectators. To this end, Stade Rennes has provided a deferred debit for subscription payments. Subscribing viewers who were unable to attend one or more matches due to the indicator will not be charged the full price of their subscription. indicates France Bleu Armorique. But nothing indicates how the 5,000 subscribers of the 15,000 who were able to attend this first match would be “chosen”.
It will be the same problem in Lens, which, finding the elite for the first time in five years, has already sold 20,000 subscriptions in just over a month. Contacted by The HuffPost, the club’s commercial director indicates that a solution will not be decided before mid-August.
This is a problem, especially for clubs that claim a large number of subscribers each season, such as PSG (35,000 for 2019-2020) OM (33,000), Lille (26,000) or Lyon (22,000).
This tonnage of 5,000 spectators puts groups of fans in tension, as in Marseille, where rejected the idea of classifying among its subscribed members. Only the South Winners and their 7,000 members exceed the mark. “For the moment, (…) we continue to reflect with the groups of fans, based on government measures regarding the reception of spectators in the stadiums,” he proclaims with the HuffPost the Marseille club, who prefer not to sell their tickets to the general public for the moment.
Suspension of sale, delay and boycott
In Nice, Ultras Populaire Sud they have chosen to boycott home games “Until the restrictions are lifted.” “From our point of view, it was unthinkable to have to make a selection among our members and be seated several seats apart at our stand,” the group explains in a press release published this week on social media.
It must be said that the barrier measures that must be applied in stadiums – seated spectators, with masks and minimum distance of one seat between groups of a maximum of 10 people who gather or have booked together – are almost inadequate for ultra groups and their families. Festive universe made up of songs, gestures and groups, all standing up for 90 minutes.
For the rest of its audience, the Nice club told the HuffPost that its “subscription offer has been designed to allow each subscriber to pay only for the games he attends,” prioritizing former subscribers for the first match against Lens on August 22.
With a limitation on the number of spectators, it should also be almost impossible to expect a ticket sale for the dry match, on the internet or at the stadium box office, for clubs that have already launched their renewal / subscription campaign without any limitation. . . “Until normalcy returns, our subscribers will only have the opportunity to attend one match,” confirms OGC Nice.
This will not be the case for AS Saint-Étienne, which adopts a completely different business strategy. No fertilizers will be sold until the health situation has stabilized. Therefore, tickets will be sold only individually for the first league matches. report The team.
In Angers, following the success of the renovation campaign in July, preferred to delay the reserved for new subscribers and subsequently advise according to the evolution of health.
The FC Lorient, promoted to Ligue 1, has chosen to temporarily interrupt its campaign “so as not to be forced to make too many disappointments among its subscribers by denying them access to the stadium”, according to a club statement published on July 22.
See also in The HuffPost: PSG – Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue: Thomas Tuchel’s anger after the victory