French club launches legal battle against 'unjust' Ligue 1 relegation

Ligue 1
Ligue 1

French club Amiens have launched legal proceedings in a bid to overturn what they consider to be their "unjust" relegation from Ligue 1 after the season was ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We find that this decision goes against sporting fairness. The decision is a punishment from the league. It is unjust," the club's president, Bernard Joannin, said during a press conference on Tuesday.

"We have been forced into fighting, into going to court to try to overturn this unfair decision."

The LFP, which runs the top two divisions in French football, decided late last month to call an end to the season with 10 of the 38 scheduled rounds of games unplayed because of the coronavirus-induced suspension.

That was after the French government ruled out any prospect of matches returning before August.

The decision confirmed Paris Saint-Germain as champions and also meant that the bottom two, Amiens and Toulouse, were condemned to relegation to Ligue 2. Lorient and Lens have been promoted in their place.

Amiens, from the north of the country, were four points away from what would have been safety when action was suspended, but were still due to play several of their rivals in the relegation battle.

"We are not contesting the decision to stop the season. That is not really the object of these proceedings. It would be a bit inappropriate," said the club's lawyer, Christophe Bertrand. "However, what we are contesting are the consequences of the decisions that were taken."

The appeal has been filed at the Paris Administrative Court.

Amiens, who were playing in just their third top-flight season having won promotion in 2017, believe a proposal to temporarily increase the number of clubs in Ligue 1 from 20 to 22 should have been considered, thereby saving them and Toulouse from the drop.

Lyon have also threatened legal action with their president Jean-Michel Aulas vehemently opposed to the league's decision, which left his club seventh and set to miss out on a place in Europe next season for the first time in almost quarter of a century.

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