Amiens, relegated from Ligue 1 after the season was ended amid the Covid-19 crisis on Thursday, will study reasons behind the decision before planning any legal challenge, the club’s president said.
The 2019-20 campaign was suspended with 10 matches remaining as part of the French government’s steps to contain the spread of coronavirus last month. With some teams having played 27 matches and others 28, the French league (LFP) drew up the final standings according to a performance index – number of points per game weighed by head-to-head record, resulting in Amiens and Toulouse going down.
“It is an injustice because Amiens could not defend until the end on the pitch to remain in Ligue 1,” the club president, Bernard Joannin, said in a live Facebook broadcast. “I’ll fight with all the teams to assert our right, because I think this decision isn’t right. We will wait for the minutes of the LFP board of directors. There will be the passage to the general assembly, and we reserve the right to go further so that justice passes.”
Paris Saint-Germain were awarded a seventh league title in eight years while seventh-placed Lyon, who missed out on European qualification, said they would possibly appeal against the LFP’s decision.
French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said the aggrieved clubs were welcome to explore legal options but also called for restraint. “If they want to go to court, let them go,” Maracineanu told RMC Sport. “The sports movement is autonomous … This is valid for professional sport and amateur sport alike. In this situation, there are some who are content and some who are dissatisfied.
“I appeal to everyone’s solidarity and responsibility. I appeal to the wealthy and better off that they don’t split hairs … We must also think of others and society. The world must know how to take its losses.”
Marseille and Rennes, in the top three of the points-per-game table, have qualified for the Champions League. It will be Rennes’ first appearance in the competition. Lille are fourth and will go to the Europa League, along with Reims and Nice. The top two in Ligue 2, Lorient and Lens, are set to be promoted.
The new season will start on 22-23 August at the latest and likely to be held without fans as popular events are banned until September in France.