• Amiens, Toulouse spared as French high court blocks Ligue 1 relegation

    France’s highest administrative court blocked the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse from Ligue 1 after the 2019-20 season was cancelled.

    The Professional Football League (LFP) named Paris Saint-Germain as Ligue 1 champions and relegated the bottom two following prime minister Edouard Philippe’s April 28 announcement that all sporting events were banned until September amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The decision proved controversial as Toulouse and Amiens appealed against their relegation, while Lyon pursued legal action after they were denied a place in European competition next season because of their seventh-place finish.

    The case was initially dismissed, but the clubs turned to the country’s highest administrative court, which ruled that the call to end the season early was legal but suspended the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse. Lyon’s appeal, however, was rejected.

    Regarding the season being ended early, the court ruled: ‘There is no serious doubt on the legality of this decision, which weighed the advantages and the disadvantages of an immediate stop of the championship, whereas a very great uncertainty affected the hypothesis of a possible restart of competitions in good time.’

    As a result of the judge’s decision, the French top flight could be expanded to 22 teams, as Lorient and Lens will be promoted from Ligue 2.

    The ruling continued: ‘The judge in summary proceedings considers that the board of directors of the LFP could not legally rely, in deciding to relegate the last two teams in Ligue 1, on the fact that the current agreement concluded with the French Football Federation (FFF) provides for a limit of 20 clubs, while this agreement ends on June 30 and a new agreement will have to be signed.

    ‘The judge therefore orders the LFP, in conjunction with the competent bodies of the FFF, to re-examine the question of the format of Ligue 1 for the 2020-2021 season, in view of all the elements relating to the conditions under which this season is likely to take place, and to draw the consequences as to the principle of relegation before June 30.’

    After the French government admitted that cup final matches may take place in July and August, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin this week said the league could resume with playoffs before August 2.

    You may also like