2 May 2020 – French club Amiens are considering legal action to fight their “unjust” relegation from Ligue 1 with 10 rounds of matches of the coronavirus-curtailed season left unplayed.
The axe fell on the 2019/2020 campaign on Thursday with Paris Saint-Germain anointed champions, and Amiens and Toulouse dropping down to Ligue 2.
The French football league blew the whistle on the ill-fated season following Tuesday’s announcement by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that “professional sports leagues, notably football, cannot restart” because of the pandemic.
Amiens president Bernard Joannin said: “My first feeling is one of injustice because Amiens aren’t able to fight to the end on the pitch to remain in Ligue 1.
“Sporting equality hasn’t been respected, I find the decision unfair and my job is to defend Amiens.”
Amiens were competing in the top league for the third time in their history. They were placed 19th, ahead only of Toulouse, when the season was suspended in mid-March, just four points adrift of third-last Nimes.
“There were still 30 points to play for,” complained Joannin in comments on Facebook.
He made plain he was not against the Prime Minister’s decision to end the season for the sake of public health.
“I respect that,” he said.
“But where I don’t agree is the lack of humanity and injustice displayed by the professional football league (in going through with relegation).
“In basketball or in rugby they haven’t relegated teams.”
He proposed maintaining Amiens and Toulouse’s top-flight status, and promoting the top two Ligue 2 teams for a 22-club Ligue 1 season next campaign with four clubs relegated at the end of it.
“We reserve the right to take this matter further in order that justice is done,” he warned.
Joannin’s discontent was mirrored by Fabien Cassar, president of Amiens’ Tribune Nord supporters club.
“Like many other Amiens fans I’m feeling a sense of injustice from the league and its directors.
“The end of season fixture list was more favourable for us than other teams fighting relegation.
“Now we have to prepare for a legal battle, we’re looking to Amiens’ directors to take up the fight.”
Toulouse have also kept open the possibility that they might now take legal action.
“We don’t know whether we will do it, it’s too early to say, but we reserve the right to go down that path,” said club president Olivier Sadran.