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French professional clubs scupper bid of Amiens and Toulouse to stay in Ligue 1

Professional clubs have voted to keep Ligue 1 a 20-team affair in the 2020/21 season.
Professional clubs have voted to keep Ligue 1 a 20-team affair in the 2020/21 season. AFP/Archives
2 min

The quest of Amiens and Toulouse to remain in the French first division has suffered a blow after three quarters of the other top flight and second division outfits rejected a plan on Tuesday to expand the league to 22 clubs for the 2020/21 season.

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Amiens and Toulouse were relegated to Ligue 2 after the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) declared the season over on 30 April due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Paris Saint-Germain were anointed champions and advanced to the group stages of next season’s Uefa Champions League along with runners-up Marseille. Rennes, who were third, progressed to the qualifying rounds of the competition.

While Toulouse were bottom of the 20-team division and essentially doomed with only 13 points from their 28 games, Amiens, on 23 points, had a fighting chance of at least catching Nimes in 18th which leads to a two match play-off against the third-placed team from the second division.

Amiens and Toulouse took their grievances to the judges at the Conseil d’Etat.

Court fight

On 9 June, France’s top administrative court suspended the relegation and urged the LFP to reconsider the format of next season’s Ligue 1.

But since the Conseil d’Etat’s order, two of the LFP’s main committees said they preferred a 20-team division.

On Tuesday, the LFP’s general assembly, which comprises all of France’s 40 professional football clubs, came to the same conclusion despite several propositions from Amiens as to how the four extra fixtures could be squeezed into the Ligue 1 season.

“The financial impacts of an expanded league were considered along with the distribution of money from TV rights as well as broadcasting contracts,” said an LFP statement. 

The LFP added it would start working on the calendar for the 2020/21 season.

Amiens and Toulouse can challenge the LFP’s move either through mediation at the national Olympic committee or at the Conseil d'Etat.

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