June 12, 2021

Ligue 1 football should grow from 20 to 18 clubs by 2023-2024

The end of the 2022-2023 season may be even more stressful than usual for small clubs in Ligue 1. By this time, the French football championship should drop from 20 to 18 teams.

The principle of this reduction of the elite was adopted by the Ligue 1 clubs on Wednesday, June 2. The college of Ligue 2 gave its agreement in the wake (it is likely that it is also heading towards a championship with 18 clubs in the long term).

The biggest clubs in L1, including Paris SG, Marseille, Lyon, Rennes and Monaco, were in favor of a switch from the 2021-2022 season, but more modest clubs demanded a respite.

This decision was to be endorsed Thursday by the board of directors of the Professional Football League (LFP), then endorsed Friday by the general assembly of the French Federation.

An unprecedented crisis

Such a scenario was expected as the leeway of French clubs, in a difficult financial situation for many of them, had been reduced in recent months against Canal +, whose president, Maxime Saada pleaded for a tightened championship to make the more spectacular competition.

The broadcaster hammered that only the two “best” posters of each day interested him, suggesting that he could go so far as to do without football altogether, unheard of since the launch of Canal + in 1984.

Read the survey: Canal +: Maxime Saada, Vincent Bolloré’s “Monsieur Loyal”

Mr. Saada had received, Tuesday, June 1, weighty support in the person of Jean-Marc Mickeler, president of the National Directorate of Management Control (DNCG), the financial policeman of French football, who said on RMC Sport : “You have to listen to customers and therefore broadcasters like Canal +. Reducing the number of matches, tightening up the elite, it makes good sense in relation to what is at stake for French football. “

While the pandemic has emptied the stadiums, French football is going through an unprecedented crisis. The cumulative losses of professional clubs are expected to be around 1 billion euros for the 2020-2021 season, then 1.2 to 1.5 billion euros for 2021-2022, despite the prospect of the public returning to the stadiums.

In this context, the reduction of the elite “Is a painful decision, but necessary because Ligue 1 needs a competitive shock, comments Jean-Pascal Gayant, sports economist. This type of measure can be effective, as shown by the success of the French rugby championship, which has become the most successful in the world, going from 16 to 14 clubs. “

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