Amiens launch legal action over relegation from Ligue 1 after season was ended early due to coronavirus

Club president says they have been forced to go to court in a bid to try and overturn an 'unjust punishment'

Reims' Zimbabwean midfielder Marshall Munetsi (L) vies for the ball with Amiens' French forward Sehrou Guirassy during the French L1 football match between Amiens and Reims on January 15, 2020 at the Licorne Stadium in Amiens. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP)
Powered by automated translation

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

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.

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 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 appeal has been filed at the Paris Administrative Court. "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."

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.