WARRIORS striker Tino Kadewere’s hopes of playing in the Uefa Champions League next season received a blow on Friday, but the expected return to La Liga action in Spain has given Lyon a glimmer of hope that they can fight for their place in Europe’s premier club competition.
By Kevin Mapasure
French authorities decided to end the Ligue 1 season due to the coronavirus with clubs maintaining the positions they held when the decision was arrived at.
The move saw Lyon, who sat 7th on the league table miss out on a Champions League berth.
Kadewere joined Lyon in January, but finished off the season at Le Harve on a loan deal and will move to his new team when pre-season training for next season resumes.
If Lyon were to qualify for the Champions League, he would follow in the footsteps of former Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari, Norman Mapeza and Marvelous Nakamba who played in the top competition.
On Friday, Lyon and two other clubs lost the appeal against the ending of the season but they are expected to push on in the courts to have the decision overturned.
Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas wants to do everything to influence a shift in the stance taken by authorities.
Sporting activities are banned in France until September and Lyon are also trying to make an appeal with the government.
On Saturday, La Liga got the Spanish government’s green light to resume play. Matches will likely begin on June 12, according to League president Javier Tebas.
“In the past two months, the Spanish officials have been observing and working with Uefa,” Aulas told L’Equipe on Sunday, referring to European soccer’s governing body.
“What is paradoxical is that Javier Tebas, in particular, attended the same meetings as (French League director-general) Didier Quillot, notably that of April 23.”
“In fact, what was said at that meeting with Uefa is ‘patience’. When we see that our officials attended this meeting and drew different conclusions, one can feel that we are really too stupid.”
Following the news that Spanish authorities had allowed the resumption of La Liga, Lyon released a statement pushing their case.
Lyon said in a statement: “Olympique Lyonnais welcomes the decision this Saturday by Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish President, as his government authorised the resumption of La Liga from June 12. After the Bundesliga, this will be the second major league in Europe to return to the pitch.
“Olympique Lyonnais hopes that the example of Spain, following that of Germany, will help authorities reconsider the decision taken too hastily in France.”
Lyon fear they will lose some of their top players if they don’t play European football next season.
Star striker Mousa Dembele, who has been the subject of Chelsea interest, could be sold.
That would make an opening for Kadewere, who won the Ligue 2 Golden Boot, to fill in.