After getting a majority at the general assembly on Thursday, LFP has confirmed that Ligue 1 will be reduced to 18 clubs from the 2023/24 season. LFP confirmed that over 97 percent of the votes at its general assembly were in favour of this proposal. Currently, like other major leagues around Europe Ligue 1 is a 20 team competition.
The French top tier had been expanded to 20 teams in the 2002/03 season; the change means four teams will be relegated from Ligue 1 in 2022/23 with two promoted from Ligue 2. The current format has the bottom two clubs relegated while the 18th-placed side enters the relegation playoffs. The changes will now see teams in the division play four fewer matches throughout a league season, dropping from 38 to 34.
“It’s a very good decision which shows the unity of the players in French football Above all, it makes it possible to create the conditions for an ambitious reform plan for the future,” said LFP president Vincent Labrune in a statement.
However, according to L’Equipe, Metz was the only team that went against this decision. It was otherwise unanimously backed by the general assembly of the LFP. The decision has been made due to the difficult financial situation in French football and the COVID-19 pandemic is rubbing salt on the wounds. French clubs have been struggling since the collapse of the €3.25 billion Mediapro TV deal last season. French football then agreed to a much lower €365 million a season deal with Canal Plus to see them through to the end of the season. Bein Sports is reportedly ready to rescue French football by coming with an offer that could provide much-needed broadcast revenue to clubs.
The LFP added that Ligue 2 will also have to look at reducing its number of teams to 18. Similar efforts were made in the Bundesliga and much-criticized ‘Project Big Picture’ by Premier League clubs Manchester United and Liverpool last year.