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Ligue 1 to shrink to 18 clubs from 2023/24

LFP club chairmen also reject BeIN-Canal channel proposal.

4 June 2021 Tom Bassam
  • Four teams to be relegated from Ligue 1 in 2022/23, with just two coming up from Ligue 2
  • LFP seeking €600m per season for media rights
  • BeIN keen to cut other rights fees in move for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 channel joint venture with Canal

Ligue 1, French soccer's top flight, will reduce from 20 clubs to 18 from the 2023/24 campaign.

More than 97 per cent of the vote at the Professional Football League's (LFP) meeting on 3rd June went in favour of the transition, intended to be the first step in a reform of French domestic soccer.

To attain the change, four teams will be relegated from Ligue 1 in 2022/23, with two being promoted from Ligue 2.

Vincent Labrune, president of the LFP, said on the league body's website: “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 .”

The clubs, however, could not reach an agreement on the league's broadcast strategy from next season, with L’Équipe reporting that the LFP chairmen were not satisfied with the proposals. The preferred option, according to the report, is the creation of dedicated channel jointly financed by pay-television broadcasters BeIN Sports and Canal Plus until the end of the 2023/24 season.

The potential new channel would show all Ligue 1 games per match week not picked up by Canal Plus, and all matches from Ligue 2.

The LFP is reported to seeking a fixed fee from BeIN and Canal that averages €600 million (US$726 million) per season, excluding any bonuses.

However, there are a number of moving parts. BeIN reportedly wants to reduce its €30 million ($36.3 million) per season fee for the top pick Ligue 2 games to around €20 million (US$24.2 million) and then pay for the production costs of all matches in the second tier that would be aired on the new French soccer service.

BeIN is also purportedly seeking to reduce the €80 million (US$97 million) annual fee it pays for overseas Ligue 1 rights, a contract the LFP had previously said was undervalued.

According to L'Equipe, Canal Plus is seeking to upgrade its current match picks, sublicensed from BeIN, and is prepared to up its annual fee from €330 million (US$399 million) to as much as €380 million (US$460 million) per season.

Ligue 1 will reduce from 20 clubs to 18 from the 2023/24 campaign

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