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Ligue 1: French top tier reduced to 18 teams from 2023/24 season

Ligue 1 to be reduced to 18 clubs from the 2023/24 season; the French top tier had been expanded to 20 teams in 2002/03 season; the change means four teams will be relegated from Ligue 1 in 2022/23 with two promoted from Ligue 2

Lille beat PSG to the 2020-21 Ligue 1 title (AP)
Image: Lille beat PSG by one point to win Ligue 1 in 2020/21 - their first title since 2011

France's Ligue 1 is to be reduced from 20 teams to 18 from the 2023/24 season.

The French professional league (LFP) said on Thursday that over 97 per cent of the votes at its general assembly were in favour of the proposal.

The assembly reached an agreement to reduce the number of sides by relegating four teams from Ligue 1 at the end of the 2022/23 season while only two are promoted from Ligue 2.

Ligue 1 has had 18 teams in the past but was last expanded to 20 teams in the 2002/03 season. The current format has the bottom two clubs relegated while the 18th-placed side enters the relegation playoffs.

"It's a very good decision which shows the unity of the players in French football," said LFP president Vincent Labrune in a statement.

"Above all, it makes it possible to create the conditions for an ambitious reform plan for the future."

The LFP added that Ligue 2 will also have to look at reducing its number of teams to 18.

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At the end of the 2023/24 season, the promotion and relegation system will revert to two teams being relegated from Ligue 1 and two promoted from Ligue 2, plus a playoff between third from bottom in Ligue 1 and third in Ligue 2.

Among the top leagues in Europe, Germany's Bundesliga also has 18 top-flight teams with 34 rounds of matches instead of the 38 rounds in England, Spain and Italy.

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