Martin Whiteley reports on glory for Lyon, misery for Metz and Marseille, and the tight contest for promotions to the Feminine Division 1.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced on 28 April that it would be impossible to host football matches in the country due to ongoing measures combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. After the top two men’s leagues were cancelled, it was then left to the French Football Federation (FFF) to decide how the other leagues, including the top women’s divisions, would be resolved.
When Feminine Division 1 action was halted after the game played on 23 February, Lyon led the way with 44 points — three in front of PSG — with all teams having played 16 games. On 11 May, the Executive Committee of the FFF announced they had decided to award Lyon the title. This latest success for the champions stretched their record run of consecutive league titles to 14.
During an unbeaten league campaign — including 14 victories — the title-winners found the back of the net 67 times, whilst having their own defence breached on just four occasions — all in September. Three of those goals were shipped away to Reims, with Lyon themselves scoring eight. The other was conceded on their travels against Guingamp, though the champions found their opponent’s net on five occasions. England internationals Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, and Nikita Parris all made meaningful contributions throughout the season for the serial trophy winners.
The FFF also announced that runners-up PSG will join Lyon in qualification for the 2020-21 UEFA Women’s Champions League.
At the other end of the table, the FFF confirmed that Marseille and Metz would both be relegated from the top division.
Metz occupied the basement spot having gained just two draws all season. Marseille performed only marginally better during their campaign. The second-from-bottom team managed to register just six points thanks to a couple of wins on home soil, one of them against Metz.
Taking their place at the top table next time around will be Issy and Le Havre.
Feminine Division 2 Group A leaders Issy were 12 points clear of their nearest challengers Rodez, with all the sides having played 16 matches. The leaders had 41 points, with just one loss to their name, a 2-1 reversal away to Rodez at the end of January.
Group B was an altogether tighter affair. Leaders Le Havre had played 16 games and had 40 points. Second-place Saint-Étienne trailed by three points but had played a game less. The difference was in the points-per-game totals; Le Havre recorded a total of 2.50, compared to Saint-Étienne who only managed 2.47.
At the top of their final published rankings on 15 May, the FFF said it had endorsed promotion and relegation from the 2019-20 season, but stated that all of these classifications are given subject to any decision to appeal. So things may still change before the next women’s football season in France gets underway.
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