France’s highest court has confirmed that the Ligue 1 season will end early as initially planned but now suspended the relegation of Bongani Zungu’s Amiens SC as well as Toulouse FC.
Amiens and Toulouse were ‘relegated’ following the decision Ligue 1 in April with Paris St-Germain named Champions while FC Lorient and RC Lens were promoted from Ligue 2.
But that decision was appealed by the two clubs who were also joined by Olympique Lyonnais who had also missed out on European football qualification.
The decision could see France’s top flight expanded to 22 teams next season, with the court ordering the Ligue de Football Professionel to reconsider its structure for 2020-21.
In its decision published on Tuesday, the Council of State said there was “no serious doubt on the legality of the decision” to curtail the season and said that the judge “validates the terms defined by the league, in particular for the classification of the Ligue 1 championship”.
But it added: “The President considers that the League’s administrative board could not legally rely, in deciding to relegate the lowest two (clubs) of the Ligue 1 ranking, on the fact that the current agreement concluded with the French Football Federation (FFF) provides for a limit of twenty clubs, while this agreement ends on June 30 and a new agreement will have to be signed.
“The judge therefore orders the Professional Football League, 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 the light of all the elements relating to the conditions in which this season is likely to take place, and to draw the consequences as to the principle of relegation before June 30.” Read the judgement.
Bafana Bafana international Zungu also took to twitter to express his delight on the news.
Nimes Olympique who finished third from bottom will also not be relegated because, in normal circumstances, the team finishing 18th in Ligue 1 faces a play-off against a Ligue 2 side to decide who plays in the top flight the following season.
By Ofhani Munyai