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No Large Events to Take Place in France until September

French government announces new ban on sporting events of more than 5,000 people…

Photo: MPS Agency

France has become the latest European country to propose a ban on large public events until September.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Tuesday that sporting events with more than 5,000 people will not be allowed to take place over the summer.

Similar restrictions on large cultural and sporting gatherings have already been imposed in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

The French ban is likely to affect the European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Le Castellet on July 19 and the International GT Open round at Paul Ricard on August 22-23.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans falls just after the cut-off point, with the FIA World Endurance Championship’s centerpiece event set to take place on Sept. 19-20.

WEC and ELMS boss Gerard Neveu has previously said that both series will endeavor to hold races without spectators where large crowds are not permitted.

In a speech at the French National Assembly, prime minister Philippe said: “Events which bring together more than 5,000 people in France cannot be held before September.

“This measure relates to major sporting and cultural events, in particular festivals, major trade fairs, all events which bring together more than 5,000 participants.”

France is currently working out how to approach its coronavirus deconfinement strategy.

Philippe proposed two separate phases, one lasting from May 11 to June 1 and the other starting on June 2, during which certain social restrictions will be loosened.

Small cultural institutions like libraries will be allowed to open during the first phase while cinemas, theaters and large museums will be considered for phase two.

Sporting events and the biggest cultural functions will then be the last to restart.

The ban has already resulted in the cancelation of several high-profile French sports seasons including Ligue 1 football and Top 14 rugby union.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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