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Ligue 1 (Première division or Division 1 until 2003, now officially called Ligue 1) is the top division of Frenchmarker football, one of two divisions making up the LFP, the other being Ligue 2. One member club, AS Monaco, is based in the independent Principality of Monacomarker, rather than in France proper. Ligue 1 is one of the top national leagues, currently ranked fifth in Europe behind the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and the German Fußball-Bundesliga.

History

Ligue 1 has been an all-professional league since its inception in 1932. Because of World War II, the LFP suspended play for the 1939–1940 through 1944–1945 seasons, although its member clubs continued playing in regional competitions. (For the 1943–44 season, the Vichy regime abolished professionalism, but professional clubs operated during the other war years.) Since the end of World War II, the French first division has switched several times between an 18- and a 20-team format, the latter being in force today and having the preference of clubs in spite of a busier schedule for the players.

The 20 Ligue 1 teams play each other twice (home and away) during the season for a 38-match schedule. At the end of the season, the bottom three teams in the division are relegated to Ligue 2, and are replaced by the top three teams of Ligue 2. This particular promotion and relegation format, in place since 1995, is a relative novelty in the French top flight. The traditional format has long been direct relegation of the bottom two teams and a play-off between the third-last first-division team and the winner of the second-division play-offs.

Currently, the top three teams in Ligue 1 qualify for the Champions League, with the top two proceeding directly to the group phase. The third-placed team enters in the final qualifying round. The fourth- and fifth-placed teams qualify for the UEFA Cup. The sixth- and seventh-placed teams can also qualify, depending on results in the two domestic cup competitions.

Point allocation follows the international standard with three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. The three-point rule was adopted in 1994 after a one-time test in the 1988–89 season. From 1973 to 1976, a "bonus" rule rewarded teams scoring three or more goals in a game with one extra point, regardless of outcome, with the objective of encouraging offensive play. The experience was ultimately inconclusive.

Ligue 1 teams standing on equal points are ranked by goal difference (goals scored minus goals conceded) and, if still even, by the number of goals scored. Until 1966, the league used goal average (the ratio of goals scored to goals conceded) instead of goal difference to break ties on points. This system actually favored the defensive over the offensive, as shown by the outcome of the 1961–62 season: Stade de Reims edged Racing Club de Paris for the title by a 0.018 difference in goal average and was crowned champion on equal points in spite of equal goal difference (83–60 vs. 86–63) and fewer goals scored.

Ligue 1 is generally regarded as competently run, with good planning of fixtures, complete and consistently enforced rules, timely resolution of issues, and adequate escalation procedures of judicial disputes to national or international institutions. It has faced three significant corruption scandals in its history (Olympique d'Antibes in 1933, Red Star in the 1950s, and Olympique de Marseille in 1993) and has preserved its reputation every time through swift and appropriately severe punishment of the guilty parties.

Criticism

Ligue 1 is also often criticized (including in France itself) as displaying too much defensive play and lacking entertainment value.

Only one team has reached the current record of 10 league titles (Saint-Étienne), and the title has regularly been highly disputed with several teams from small-sized French cities, often with no previous major national title. However, Olympique Lyonnais' recent run of seven-consecutive Ligue 1 championships has led them to dominate the French footballing horizon during the 2000's. Only two French teams (Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille) have won European cup titles, a record considerably inferior to lower ranked leagues in Europe like the Dutch Eredivisie or the Portuguese Liga.

Current teams (2009–10)



Ligue 1 teams in European competitions

The original European Cup of 1955–56 featured Real Madrid against Stade de Reims-Champagne, finishing in a 4–3 victory for the Spanish side. In 1958–59, Reims and Real Madrid faced off once again, and once again the French side lost, this time by a score of 2–0.

After Stade de Reims-Champagne fell from prominence, Ligue 1 had trouble producing strong sides that could compete with the rest of Europe. However, in the 1975–76 European Cup Saint-Étienne defeated European powerhouses such as Rangers, Dynamo Kyiv and PSV until they reached the final losing to defending champions Bayern Munich. The following year, Saint-Étienne advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions Liverpool.

Saint-Étienne entered a dry spell after a short period of dominance and the 1980s produced no significant French clubs ready to conquer Europe. Finally in 1990–91 Olympique de Marseille, with scoring phenomenon Jean-Pierre Papin, advanced all the way to the final before falling to Red Star Belgrade on penalties.

When the European Cup rebranded to the UEFA Champions League, Marseille unleashed havoc on the competition. Les Olympiens won Group A and suddenly found themselves in the final against AC Milan. Basile Boli hit home the winning goal in the 44th minute, winning the Champions League for Marseille.

In 1996, Paris Saint-Germain won the second and last French European title, beating Rapid Wien in the final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with a Bruno N'Gotty's freekick.

The 2003–04 UEFA Champions League saw underdogs AS Monaco win their group over Deportivo La Coruña, PSV and AEK Athens to advance to the Round of 16. Monaco did not stop there, triumphing over Lokomotiv Moscow, Real Madrid, and Chelsea until they reached the final. FC Porto ended the run with a 3–0 victory.

In the past few years, Olympique Lyonnais entered the European stage, which saw them reach the 1/8 final of the Champions League in 2006–07, 2007–08 and reach the quarter-finals in 2003–04, 2004–05 and 2005–06.

Previous Winners



Performance by club

Club Winners Winning Years
AS Saint-Étienne
10
1957, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981
Olympique de Marseille
8
1937, 1948, 1971, 1972, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992
FC Nantes
8
1965, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1995, 2001
AS Monaco FC
7
1961, 1963, 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2000
Olympique Lyonnais
7
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Stade Reims
6
1949, 1953, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1962
FC Girondins de Bordeaux
6
1950, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1999, 2009
OGC Nice
4
1951, 1952, 1956, 1959
Lille OSC
3
1933, 1946, 1954
FC Sochaux-Montbéliard
2
1935, 1938
FC Sète
2
1934, 1939
Paris Saint-Germain FC
2
1986, 1994
RCF Paris
1
1936
CO Roubaix-Tourcoing
1
1947
RC Strasbourg
1
1979
AJ Auxerre
1
1996
RC Lens
1
1998


Records

Club

  • Most titles: Saint-Étienne, 10
  • Most consecutive titles: Lyon (2002–2008), 7
  • Longest unbeaten record within a single season: Nantes, 32 matches (1994–1995)
  • Longest unbeaten home record: Nantes, 92 matches, between May 15 1976 and April 7 1981
  • Most wins in a season: 26 for Reims (1959–60), Monaco (1960–61), Nantes (1965–66, 1979–80) for a 20-team league; 25 for Saint-Étienne (1969–70) for an 18-team league
  • Most home victories in a season: 19 for Saint-Étienne (1974–75)
  • Most away victories in a season: 12 for Saint-Étienne (1969–70) Lyon (2005–2006) and Marseille (1971–72 and 2008–09)
  • Fewest losses in a season: 1 for Nantes (1994–95)
  • Most seasons in top-flight: Sochaux, 57 seasons (including 2005–2006)
  • Most consecutive seasons in top-flight: Nantes, 44 seasons (1963–2007)
  • Highest-scoring season: 1946–47 (1,344 goals, average: 3.51 per match) for a 20-team league; 1948–49 (1,138 goals, average: 3.71 per match) for an 18-team league
  • Highest-scoring team in a season: 1959–60 RC Paris, 118 goals, in 20-team format; 1948–49 Lille, 102 goals, in 18-team format
  • Best defense in a season: 1991–92 Marseille, 21 goals conceded
  • Best goal difference in a season: 1959–60 Reims, +63, 20-team format; 1948–49 Lille, +62, 18-team format
  • Biggest win: 12–1, Sochaux v. Valenciennes, 1935–36
  • Season with most yellow cards: 2002–03 (1,654)
  • Season with most red cards: 2002–2003 (131)
  • Most red cards in a season : 1998–99 Bastia, 2002–03 PSG, and 2003–04 Lens, 13
  • Most matches for a coach : Guy Roux, Auxerre (1961–2000,2001–2005) 890 matches
  • Highest overall attendance : 8,086,774 in 2004–2005 (20 clubs)
  • Highest average attendance : 23,154 per match in 2000–2001 (18 clubs)
  • Highest daily attendance for a single game day : 281,000, Day 33, 1997–1998 (28,100 per match)
  • Highest single attendance : 77,840, LilleLyon, 2007–2008 (Match played at the Stade de Francemarker)
  • Most draw in the season : 2004–05 Bordeaux, 20


Players

Top Ten Players With Most Appearances
Player Period Club Games
1 Jean-Luc Ettori 1975–1994 Monaco 602
2 Dominique Dropsy 1972–1989 Valenciennes, Strasbourg, Bordeaux 596
3 Dominique Baratelli 1967–1985 Monaco, Nice, Paris Saint-Germain 593
4 Alain Giresse 1970–1988 Bordeaux 586
5 Sylvain Kastendeuch 1982–2001 Metz 577
6 Patrick Battiston 1973–1991 Bordeaux 558
7 Jacky Novi 1964–1980 Marseille 545
8 Roger Marche 1944–1962 Stade Reims 542
9 Jean-Paul Bertrand-Demanes 1969–1988 Nantes 532
- Henri Michel 1966–1982 Nantes 532


Top Ten Highest Goalscorers
Player Period Club Goals
1 Delio Onnis 1971–1986 Monaco 299 (Ø 0,66)
2 Bernard Lacombe 1969–1987 Lyon, Bordeaux 255 (Ø 0,51)
3 Hervé Revelli 1965–1978 Saint-Étienne 216 (Ø 0,55)
4 Thadée Cisowski 1947–1961 Paris 206 (Ø 0,72)
5 Roger Piantoni 1950–1966 Stade Reims 203 (Ø 0,52)
6 Roger Courtois 1932–1956 Sochaux 193
7 Joseph Ujlaki 1947–1964 Paris 189 (Ø 0,43)
8 Fleury Di Nallo 1960–1975 Lyon 187 (Ø 0,44)
9 Carlos Bianchi 1973–1980 Stade Reims 179 (Ø 0,81)
- Gunnar Andersson 1950–1960 Marseille 179 (Ø 0,77)


Other records



Statistics by clubs (1932–1939 and 1945–2009)

Club Seasons

in D1/L1
Number of titles Best

result
First season

in D1/L1
Last season

in D1/L1
Matches played (as end of 2007–08 season)

in D1/L1
1. FC Sochaux 60 +08/09 2 1st 1932–33 2007–08 2140
2. Olympique de Marseille 58 +08/09 8 1st 1932–33 2007–08 2056
3. FC Metz 57 - 2nd 1932–33 2007–08 2042
4. RC Strasbourg 56 1 1st 1935–36 2007–08 2039
5. AS Saint-Étienne 55 +08/09 10 1st 1938–39 2007–08 2010
FC Girondins de Bordeaux 55 +08/09 5 1st 1945–46 2007–08 2022
Lille OSC 55 +08/09 3 1st 1932–33 2007–08 1963
RC Lens 55 1 1st 1937–38 2007–08 2006
9. AS Monaco 51 +08/09 7 1st 1953–54 2007–08 1886
Stade Rennais 51 +08/09 - 4th 1932–33 2007–08 1814
11. Olympique Lyonnais 50 +08/09 7 1st 1945–46 2007–08 1840
12. OGC Nice 49 +08/09 4 1st 1932–33 2007–08 1782
13. FC Nantes 44 +08/09 8 1st 1963–64 2006–07 1636
Sporting Club Nimois/Nimes Olympique 35 - 2nd 1932–33 1992–93 1246
15. Paris SG 35 +08/09 2 1st 1971–72 2007–08 1310
16. RCF Paris 30 1 1st 1932–33 1989–90 1020
17. AJ Auxerre 28 +08/09 1 1st 1980–81 2007–08 1044
18. Stade Reims 29 6 1st 1945–46 1978–79 1050
SC Bastia 29 - 3rd 1968–69 2004–05 1074
20. Montpellier HSC 27 - 3rd 1932–33 2003–04 954
21. Valenciennes FC 28 +08/09 - 3rd 1935–36 2007–08 986
22. Angers SCO 23 - 3rd 1956–57 1993–94 854
Le Havre AC 23 +08/09 - 3rd 1938–39 2002–03 834
24. CS Sedan 24 - 3rd 1955–56 2006–07 834
AS Nancy 24 +08/09 - 4th 1970–71 2007–08 904
. AS Cannes 22 - 2nd 1932–33 1997–98 749
27. Toulouse FC 19 - 2nd 1946–47 1966–67 678
FC Rouen 19 - 4th 1936–37 1984–85 678
29. Toulouse FC 20 +08/09 - 3rd 1982–83 2007–08 751
30. FC Sète 16 2 1st 1932–33 1953–54 504
Red Star 16 - 7th 1932–33 1974–75 540
32. FC Nancy 15 - 4th 1946–47 1962–63 530
Stade Français Paris 15 - 5th 1946–47 1966–67 538
34. Troyes AC 15 - 7th 1954–55 2006–07 512
. Stade Laval 13 - 5th 1976–77 1988–89 494
36. Sporting Toulon Var 12 - 5th 1958–59 1992–93 452
37. CO Roubaix-Tourcoing 10 1 1st 1945–46 1954–55 344
AC Ajaccio 10 - 6th 1967–68 2005–06 372
Stade Brest 10 - 8th 1979–80 1990–91 380
40. SM Caen 10 +08/09 - 5th 1988–89 2007–08 380
41. SC Fives 7 - 2nd 1932–33 1938–39 194
Excelsior Athlétic Club de Roubaix 7 - 5th 1932–33 1938–39 194
FC Antibes 7 - 7th 1932–33 1938–39 194
EA Guingamp 7 - 7th 1995–96 2003–04 254
45. FC Mulhouse 6 - 6th 1932–33 1989–90 184
Olympique Alès 6 - 10th 1932–33 1958–59 184
47. Tours FC 4 - 11th 1980–81 1984–85 152
48. AS Angoulême 3 - 4th 1969–70 1971–72 110
Racing Club de Roubaix 3 - 8th 1936–37 1938–39 90
Limoges Foot 87 3 - 10th 1958–59 1960–61 114
FC Martigues 3 - 11th 1993–94 1995–96 114
Paris FC 3 - 12th 1972–73 1978–79 114
54. Le Mans UC72 4 +08/09 - 11th 2003–04 2007–08 152
FC Lorient 3 +07/08 - 10th 1998–99 2007–08 110
. CA Paris 2 - 5th 1932–33 1933–34 44
Grenoble Foot 38 2 +08/09 - 17th 1960–61 1962–63 76
58 Club Français 1 - 8th 1932–33 1932–33 18
Hyères FC 1 - 9th 1932–33 1932–33 18
SR Colmar 1 - 11th 1948–49 1948–49 34
LB Châteauroux 1 - 17th 1997–98 1997–98 34
AS Béziers 1 - 18th 1957–58 1957–58 34
FC Gueugnon 1 - 18th 1995–96 1995–96 38
Chamois Niortais FC 1 - 18th 1987–88 1987–88 38
AS Aix 1 - 20th 1967–68 1967–68 38
Olympique Avignonais 1 - 20th 1975–76 1975–76 38
FC Istres 1 - 20th 2004–05 2004–05 38
68. US Boulogne 0 - N/A 2009–10 N/A N/A


Media coverage

In Australia, the United States, and Canada, Ligue 1 is currently available on Setanta Sports. In Sweden it's available on Viasat Sport. In Brazil, pay television channel Sportv airs matches from the French league. In France, it is televised on Canal+, but is not broadcast on terrestrial television there in any form. There is also widespread coverage throughout Africa, home to many of the league's players. In the rest of the world, Ligue 1 is available on TV5Monde.

See also



References



External links




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