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J. Fournier discusses the impact of COVID-19

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April 6, 2020

J. Fournier discusses the impact of COVID-19

On Sunday evening, OGC Nice Director of Football, Julien Fournier, was invited on the RTL Radio station by Eric Silvestro and Nicolas Georgereau to discuss the impact of the current health crisis on football. Transcription:

You were very close to Pape Diouf (Julien Fournier was OM general secretary when Pape Diouf was chairman of the club), who passed away this week...
It is still very emotional. I can’t tell you how much he will be missed. But even now we see how he could bring people together. The number of messages over the last few days has been extraordinary.

OGC Nice has been very active in the community in the last few weeks…
It’s the very least we can do. We are, above all, a football club but we also need to do our bit when confronted by such an event.

A lot of people have spoken about what’s going to happen with the remainder of the current Ligue 1 season. Your chairman Jean-Pierre Rivère had a very original idea of switching the season to run from February to November until the Qatar World Cup in November 2022...
The idea is a very simple one, even if it seems a little utopia today. Given the current crisis in Europe, it’s possible that the competitions will be postponed further. It could be a good idea to turn the seasons upside down a little and base things on the World Cup in Qatar. The winter months aren’t the nicest for playing football in and if we can play from February to December, it might be a solution.

How would it be organised and how would you fit in 2021?
We could have a summer break, like the South Americans do when there’s a World Cup of the Copa America. But it still poses a few problems because there are a lot of other countries involved and we can’t just think about France. There is also the question concerning the duration and dates of contracts. For the moment, nobody has all the answers and we are working basically on a day to day basis.

Do you think this crisis could restructure the economic model of French football in terms of the mercato, salaries, etc.?
I don’t honestly think anyone knows for the moment. We are talking about restarting the championship, about next season… But we, along with everyone else, will have to abide by the lockdown conditions that are established by the government. The consequences could be very serious if, for example, we have to cancel, or restart very late, the current season. But it’s not inconceivable that things will just fall into place naturally. Today the football economy has taken a serious hit and, at least in the short term, I think it will obviously have an effect on stopping the inflation of transfer fees.