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FFF vetoes LFP’s Ligue 2 expansion plan

Le Mans take on Chambly during the Ligue 2 match on March 6 (by Aude Alcover/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

The French Football Federation (FFF) has voted against the French Football League’s (LFP’s) proposal to expand the second tier of the domestic game, Ligue 2, to 22 clubs for the 2020-21 season.

The LFP last week voted in favour of expanding Ligue 2 from 20 to 22 teams for next season during a general assembly meeting of clubs from the top two tiers. Some 57 per cent of clubs were said to have voted in favour of the reform, but it needed to be approved by the FFF.

The FFF’s Executive Committee met to discuss the matter yesterday (Wednesday), with L’Equipe reporting that 11 members voted against the proposal, with only one in favour and LFP president Nathalie Boy de la Tour abstaining.

The LFP’s original proposal stated that for the 2020-21 season, no Ligue 2 club would be relegated to the third-tier National league from the 2019-20 campaign, while the top two teams from the National were to be promoted. This had meant that Orléans and Le Mans were set to remain in Ligue 2 for 2020-21, while Pau and Dunkerque came up from the National division.

Ligue 2 will now remain at 20 clubs for 2020-21, with Orléans and Le Mans to be relegated. FFF president Noël Le Graët, who chose not to vote, said he did not fear any potential legal action from the two clubs.

He told L’Equipe: “I’m very serene, we apply the rules that are ours. We are fair in our decisions. There are already several cases that have gone to the CNOSF [French National Olympic and Sports Committee] and that’s their right. After all, I have never been against the fact that clubs can defend their interests.”

The LFP ended the 2019-20 domestic season after Philippe ruled that no professional sport could be played in the country until September.