French Ligue 1 ends with an unexpected complain

  1. Paris Saint Germain 2,52
  2. Olympique Marseille 2,00
  3. Stade Rennais 1,79
  4. Lille OSC 1,75
  5. OGC Nice 1,46

This is how the French Ligue 1 season table will be recorded, according to the administration’s decisions.

The teams won’t be ranked with the number of points they’ve obtained up to March 13th, when the French Ligue 1 decided to stop all top football activity. Instead, the administration announced that the fairest way of ranking is divide the total points with the number of games. All teams but two had managed to play 28 games, only leaders (and eventual champions) Paris Saint Germain and Strasbourg had one game in hand.

Paris Saint Germain kept on dominating the league. This is the seventh championship title in last eight seasons for Les Parisiens. No doubt that they were the absolute favorite to win the title in any case: Having one games less than Olympique Marseille they were leading by 12 points, a difference which was not reversible for the lasting 10 fixtures.

Hopefully, there wasn’t any disagreement about next season’s European Cup spots. Les Phoceens of Marseille obtained a group stage ticket for the Champions League, season’s surprise Stade Rennais were rewarded by gaining the third Champions League spot (although they have to pass the qualifying round first to live the experience) and Lille got the remaining Europa League spot. They had already created a huge 8-point difference from challengers Nice and Reims, which was also very difficult to cover till the end.

An unexpected complain, though, came from the other end of the table. Strugglers Toulouse are relegated to Ligue 2 according to this decision and club’s president Olivier Sadran didn’t hide his contrariety about it. “We cannot defend with our sweat in the ground the possibility of avoiding relegation till the last day. We’re very disappointed. I’d like to underline my position: Whatever decision about relegation based in temporary ranking up to 27th or 28th fixture will be unfair and unfounded. A relegation would be an unacceptable deviation from the principles of justice and sportsmanship guaranteed by the LFP (Ligue de Football Profesionelle) and FFF (Federation Francaise de Football). Any unilateral relegation decision would be a sanction, which is not provided for by applicable law”.

However, a glance at the Ligue 1 table up to early March would reveal that Toulouse had gained only 13 points from 28 matches, with a horrible 3 wins-4 draws-21 defeats record. Toulouse’s relegation seemed more than sure even from early December. Even then, they were trailing no fewer than 17 points from 17th place, which secured them a stay in the league for next season.

What does this mean? Toulouse had to win at least six of ten remaining matches and at the same time hope that Saint Etienne or Dijon (both at 30 points when the league stopped) failed to grab even a single points in their last 10 matches. A science fiction scenario, whatsoever.

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