The French national court have suspended the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse to Ligue 2 after the top-flight season was curtailed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic earlier in April.
The Ligue 1 decided to relegate Amiens and Toulouse after the season was formally ended six weeks ago, shortly after the ban on sporting events (until September) was introduced by the country’s prime minister Edouard Philippe.
Lyon, Amiens and Toulouse were far from justified by the decision and an appeal was made at the Paris Administrative Court in late May which was unsuccessful.
As a result, the trio moved to the national court with their case. Les Gones’ attempt to restart the Ligue 1 season was unsuccessful as it was declared that the conclusion of the campaign was lawful under the circumstances.
However, the judge mentioned that there were no valid reasons to justify the demotion of Amiens and Toulouse with the early end to the season and their relegation to Ligue 2 will therefore be suspended.
It was added that the LFP, the country’s football governing body for major leagues, may reconsider the league size limit of 20 to accompany the above-mentioned sides as well as Lorient and Lens, who were promoted from Ligue 2.
“The court suspends the relegation into Ligue 2 of Amiens and Toulouse… the LFP Board of Directors was not able to argue on sound legal footing their decision to relegate the final two clubs in the Ligue 1 table, attempting to use the grounds that their agreement with the FFF currently provides for a league size limit of 20 clubs, however this agreement ends on June 30th and a new one has yet to be signed,” a statement published by GFFN read.
LFP need to submit the league size limit for next season after June 30, but prior to that, they could appeal the court’s decision to suspend the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse from the French top-flight.
Otherwise, they could potentially be a 22-team season in Ligue 1 next term. The relegation places could be increased to five to balance things out in 12 months’ time, with the 18th-placed team contesting against the play-off winner in Ligue 2 for survival.
In such a case, there would be only 18 teams competing in the French second tier next term. The campaign could, however, be started with the lesser number of clubs by preserving the same promotion and relegation procedure from a normal season.
Meanwhile, the court’s decision is certainly justified for Amiens, who were just four points adrift of the relegation play-off position and had a realistic chance of survival with 10 matches remaining in the season.
Toulouse, however, could count themselves lucky, considering they were 14 points behind 18th-placed Nimes and were in a dreadful run of form with just one point accumulated from the previous 18 top-flight games.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com