French Professional Football (LFP) on Friday announced that its board of directors has voted to maintain a 20-team top flight in the next season, although France’s highest administrative court has suspended the relegations of Amiens and Toulouse last week.
The LFP said there were 23 votes for a 20-team Ligue 1 with two abstentions. Despite the proposal needed to be presented at the General Assembly on Tuesday, there was little chance that Amiens and Toulouse could remain in the first division when next season kicks off on August 23.
“This resolution was voted after an in-depth examination of the challenges of a Ligue 1 to 20, 21 or 22 clubs on the 2020/2021 competition calendar after having obtained the opinion of the joint committee of the FFF/LFP calendar, and the consequences on player health,” the governing body of French professional football said in a statement.
The LFP decided the bottom two sides Amiens and Toulouse should be relegated to the second division when this season’s French football league was abandoned in late April.
The two clubs, as expected, were irritated by the decision and both of them turned to legal actions to pursue a turnover of the relegations.
The Council of State on June 9 validated the league’s decision to cancel the rest of the season, but suspended relegating Amiens and Toulouse, ordering the LFP, together with French Football Federation, to re-examine the format of Ligue 1 for the next season.
However, expanding the league to 22 teams didn’t seem to be in line with the interests of the majorities of the stakeholders, as the vote implied.
For Amiens and Toulouse, relegating to Ligue 2 should mean millions of euros in terms of economic loss, which will be another blow for the teams who have already been hit hardly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ligue 1 has signed a lucrative new TV rights contract with Spanish broadcaster Mediapro, which is worth a record 1.15 billion euros per year.