What Happens Next In Ligue 1?
Due to enforced Government policy, the LFP (French Football League) were forced into an early cessation and although the decision to call time has been debated at large, it is a discussion that is set to continue for a while yet.
Any decision that has seen a failure to conclude a league season, is always one that is going to have winners and losers and in the case of Ligue 1, it was the two relegated sides that had to suffer the biggest anguish.
Sporting integrity is a concept that has been prevalent as of late and with both Amiens and Toluouse believing that none of this was on display, their umbrage has taken them as far as an administrative courtroom.
The case that the two clubs attempted to make, was that no one should be duly punished for circumstances outside of their control and therefore, they should not have to deal with the ignominy of relegation.
While it seems that the aggrieved duo certainly had a strong case to make and with the battle to stay up moving from the playing field to the courts, a rather favourable decree has subsequently been announced.
For the time being, Ligue 1 will have to suspend relegation and for now at least Amiens and Toulouse can breathe a huge sigh of relief, as now they press ahead for a complete absolution from any demotion.
With the nature of promotion and relegation structures around the world, usually whatever number of teams go up a level, it is matched by the same number of entrants dropping down. It is a process, that has been in place for more than a century and does not look like it is going anywhere soon.
However, with Ligue 1 still planning on welcoming Lorient and Lens to the top table, it looks like there are 22 attendees with only 20 seats to go round and it is here that the potential headaches could soon arise.
One obvious solution would be to temporarily expand the top flight to 22 clubs and although that does not seem like too much of an issue, it would mean Ligue 1 becoming one of the biggest major leagues in Europe in terms of representatives.
This would also mean an additional four league matches to be played in an already tight schedule and when you consider, that the Coupe de la Ligue (French League Cup) is being scrapped for the same time constraint driven reasons, it makes little sense to return extra games to the calendar.
Then again, with Ligue 1 now receiving orders from above, it does seem like there is very little room for manoeuvre and although relegation is only suspended for now, it will give Amiens and Tolouse scope to secure their own survival.
While it will also give hope to other clubs around Europe and with the Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland also having to fold their national leagues earlier, any teams that feel aggrieved will be keeping an even closer eye on proceedings.
With Hearts also suffering a snap relegation, the threat of legal action has loomed large and with owner Ann Budge still trying to force through reconstruction plans to save her club from relegation, she can now point to a precedent to keep the Edinburgh outfit in the Scottish Premiership.
At the same time, this is a rather dangerous precedent, and some will argue that although it is an incredibly unfortunate set of circumstances, the clubs in question will have to take their medicine. At the same time though, they may just find the cure within the four walls of a courtroom instead.
Written by Dan Tracey
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