Due to confinement, the French basketball championship is interrupted, but … continues

Guerschon Yabusele and the ASVEL players should continue their championship in November, unlike many French clubs.

Will play ? Will not play? A bit of both, in fact! In 2020, French professional basketball looks more and more like Schrödinger’s cat: both alive and dead in its box, according to one of the most famous thought experiments in quantum mechanics.

Faced with re-containment and its corollary (the ban on the public in theaters), the National Basketball League (LNB) announced on Tuesday, November 3 the path it will take until the end of these health measures: we stop, and, at the same time, the championship continues.

Like all indoor sports, basketball, which suffers the full brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, wondered about the measures to be taken: continue the season behind closed doors, as the government has allowed, quit to accumulate losses (from 100,000 to 185,000 euros of loss per meeting without an audience)? Or interrupt the championship, for lack of public and “VIP”, to reduce the risk of bankruptcy?

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After questioning the Pro A (Jeep Elite) and Pro B clubs, the LNB exposed its “Desire not to put an end to this season despite the extreme complexity of the situation”, in “Preserving the economy of the clubs” for’“Avoid a cascade of bankruptcy filings”, especially through “The continuity of the visibility of basketball”, broadcast unencrypted since the start of the school year on the L’Equipe channel, as well as on Sport in France.

This results in maintaining a partial calendar of the French championship for the month of November. If many clubs are reluctant to organize matches for which the economic shortfall is significant, other teams (ASVEL, Monaco and Boulogne-Levallois, the biggest budgets of Pro A) seem willing.

To respect the broadcasting agreements with television channels – which do not, however, give access to television rights -, these are “At least two matches per weekend” which will be disputed in the coming weeks, specifies the statement of the League. On the basis, a priori, of volunteering.

Handball and volleyball seasons set to continue

A new calendar, rearranged according to the clubs that agree to host games – teams which, for the most part, are in contention in the European Cup – should see the light of day this week, according to information from The team.

For the rest, basketball clubs, like their handball and volleyball counterparts, are “Pending government decisions on possible aid mechanisms”, and which would allow them to support the period crossed – an exemption from charges, in particular. But this track is a priori excluded if the championships continue.

“I never envisioned professional sport stopping, regardless of the level of revenue lost due to closed doors, Insisted the Minister for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, Sunday on RMC. Everyone moaned when we didn’t have the chance to continue. Now that we have the possibility of continuing, people want to stop to receive aid. It is not an option. We will ensure that the championships in question can continue. It must continue. “

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With its hybrid solution, basketball has, technically, heard the minister. Other sports also seem to comply with the injunction. Barring a dramatic twist, the French men’s handball championship (Lidl Starligue) will continue in the coming weeks, despite the closed session imposed by confinement.

“We must not play, it would force us to produce at a loss. I call it headlong rush ”, warns Gaël Pelletier, the president of Nantes (2e of the championship last season), who estimates that the shortfall for his club amounts to 200,000 euros per match without an audience. However, the state aid system is still very vague.

Despite the opposition of several heavyweights in the championship (besides Nantes, there are also Chambéry and Aix), the National Handball League (LNH), by responding to the recommendations supported by the government, is therefore walking in the footsteps of its female counterpart, the LFH, as well as the French volleyball championship. The NHL believes it has no real choice, insofar as if it decided to suspend competitions, none of its players could claim partial unemployment measures (the state would oppose it).


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