The Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, on Tuesday blocked the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse from Ligue 1 after the 2019-2020 season was abandoned by the French Professional Football (LFP) in April.
The judgement declared that “the League’s administrative board could not legally rely, in deciding to relegate the last two of the League 1 ranking, on the fact that the current agreement concluded with the French Football Federation (FFF) provides for a limit of 20 clubs, while this agreement ends on June 30 and a new agreement will have to be signed.
“The judge therefore orders the LFP 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.”
Meanwhile, the judge “validates the end of the season and the standings but suspends relegation” which means that Lyon’s appeal against the decision to end the season was rejected.
The LFP decided the bottom two sides Amiens and Toulouse should be relegated to the second division following French prime minister Edouard Philippe’s announcement on April 28 to cancel all professional football events until September.
The decision angered the two clubs as both of them turned to legal council to find a way to remain in the top flight.
The case was initially dismissed by the Paris Administrative Court before it was handed to the Council of State.
“I feel that the value of football has won,” Amiens president Bernard Joannin said. “For all the employees, members of the training center, professional players, this is extraordinary because they are people and families who were afraid of losing their jobs. The decision of the Council of State is right, it puts the values of sport back at the center of the debate.”
Toulouse also said they “welcomed” the decision by the court.
The LFP said in a press release they have “taken note of the request of the Council of State” regarding the potential change of the format of Ligue 1 for next season.
Toulouse managed only 13 points when the season was suspended in mid-March, 10 points behind closest rivals Amiens who were four behind the safety zone.