Football: French court affirms early end of Ligue 1 season, suspends relegation

The decision by the French football league meant that Lyon failed to qualify for Europe. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - France's highest administrative court on Tuesday (June 9) rejected an appeal by three clubs to reverse a decision to end the Ligue 1 season early amid the Covid-19 crisis, but ruled that relegation for Amiens and Toulouse would be suspended.

The decision by the French football league (LFP) to end the season with 10 games remaining meant that Lyon failed to qualify for Europe through the Ligue 1 standings, while Amiens and Toulouse were relegated.

All three clubs appealed the decision to end the season.

"The judge validates the terms defined by the league, in particular for the classification of the Ligue 1 championship," the State Council said in a statement.

"The judge in summary proceedings suspends relegation to Ligue 2 of Amiens and Toulouse," it added.

Given that Lorient and Lens have been promoted from Ligue 2, the State Council also ordered the LFP to review its championship for the next season. That could ultimately lead to a 22-team league for the 2020-21 campaign.

The decision by the LFP to cut short the season has come under growing criticism, especially after the other main European leagues in Germany, Spain, England and Italy have either resumed or are set to restart.

Since the April decision, the government has given the green light for French cup final matches to be played before September without fans in attendance, while the 2020-21 season is due to begin on Aug 22. Training for teams has also now resumed.

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