Ligue 1

For other uses, see Ligue 1 (disambiguation).
Ligue 1
Country France
Other club(s) from Monaco
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1932
1932–33 (as National)
1933–2002 (as Division 1)
Number of teams 20 (from 2002–03)
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Ligue 2
Domestic cup(s) Coupe de France
Trophée des champions
League cup(s) Coupe de la Ligue
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions Paris Saint-Germain (6th title)
Most championships Saint-Étienne (10 titles)
TV partners Canal+ and beIN Sports
2016–17 Ligue 1

Ligue 1 (French pronunciation: [liɡ œ̃]; League 1, formerly known as Division 1), is the primary French association football competition and serves as the top division of the French football league system. Ligue 1 is one of two divisions making up the Ligue de Football Professionnel, the other being Ligue 2. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Ligue 2. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 38 games each totaling 380 games in the season. Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, with a few games played during weekday evenings. Play is regularly suspended the last weekend before Christmas for two weeks before returning in the second week of January. Ligue 1 is one of the top national leagues, currently ranked fifth in Europe behind Spain's La Liga, England's Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A.

Ligue 1 was inaugurated on 11 September 1932 under the name National before switching to Division 1 after a year of existence. The name lasted until 2002 before switching to its current name. AS Saint-Étienne is the most successful club with ten league titles in France while Olympique Lyon is the club that has won the most consecutive titles (seven between 2002 and 2008). With the presence of 66 seasons in Ligue 1, the FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and Olympique de Marseille hold the record for most seasons among the elite, while FC Nantes holds the League record for longevity with 44 consecutive seasons (1963–2007). The current champions are Paris Saint-Germain, who won their sixth title in the 2015–16 season.



Prior to 1930, professionalism in French football was non-existent. In July 1930, the National Council of the French Football Federation voted 128–20 in support of professionalism in French football. The founding fathers of professionalism in French football are Georges Bayrou, Emmanuel Gambardella, and Gabriel Hanot. Professionalism was officially implemented in 1932.

In order to successfully create a professional football league in the country, the Federation limited the league to twenty clubs. In order to participate in the competition, clubs were subjected to three important criteria:

Many clubs disagreed with the subjective criteria, most notably Strasbourg, RC Roubaix, Amiens SC, and Stade Français, while others like Rennes and Olympique Lillois were reluctant to become professional due to a variety of reasons, mostly due to fear of bankruptcy with Rennes and a conflict of interest with the latter club, as the team's president Henri Jooris also served as chairman of the Ligue du Nord. Jooris feared his league would fold and proposed it become the second division of the new league. Eventually, many clubs earned professional status, though it became more difficult to convince Northern clubs with Strasbourg, RC Roubaix, and Amiens still refusing to accept the new league, though Mulhouse, Excelsior AC Roubaix, Metz, and Fives accepted professionalism. On the other side, clubs in the south of France such as Olympique de Marseille, Hyères, SO Montpellier, SC Nîmes, Cannes, Antibes, and Nice were extremely supportive of the new league and accepted their professional status without argument.


Division 1 champions (Pre-WWII)
Season Winner
1932–33 Olympique Lillois
1933–34 Sète
1934–35 Sochaux
1935–36 Racing Club de France
1936–37 Marseille
1937–38 FC Sochaux-Montbéliard
1938–39 Sète
Further information:
French football champions

The league's inaugural season of the all-professional league, called National, was held in 1932–1933. The 20 inaugural members of National were Antibes, CA Paris, Cannes, Club Français, Excelsior AC Roubaix, Fives, Hyères, Marseille, Metz, Mulhouse, Nice, Nîmes, Olympique Alès, Olympique Lillois, Racing Club de France, Red Star Olympique, Rennes, Sochaux, Sète, and Montpellier. The 20 clubs were inserted into two groups of 10 with the bottom three of each group suffering relegation to Division 2. The two winners of each group would then face each other in a final held at a neutral venue, which later turned out to the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir. The first final was held on 14 May 1933 and it matched the winner of Group A, Olympique Lillois, against the runner-up of Group B, Cannes. Antibes, the winner of Group B, was supposed to take part in the final but was suspected of bribery by the French Football Federation and was forced into disqualification. In the first final, Lillois were crowned the inaugural champions following the club's 4–3 victory. After the season, the league decided to retain the 14 clubs and not promote any sides from the second division. The league also agreed to change its name from National to simply Division 1. For the 1934–35 season, the league organized a legitimate promotion and relegation system bringing the total tally of clubs in the first division to 16. The number remained until the 1938–39 season.

Because of World War II, football was suspended by the French government and the Ligue de Football Professionnel, although its member clubs continued playing in regional competitions. During the "war championships", as they are called, professionalism was abolished by the Vichy regime and clubs were forced to participate in regional leagues, designated as Zone Sud and Zone Nord. Due to its non-association with the two leagues, the LFP and FFF do not recognize the championships won by the clubs and thus 1939–1945 is non-existent in the two organizations' view. Following the conclusion of the war and the liberation of France, professional football returned to France. The first division increased its allotment of clubs to 18. This number remained until the 1965–66 season when the number was increased to 20. In 2002, the league changed its name from Division 1 to Ligue 1.

Competition format

There are 20 clubs in Ligue 1. During the course of a season, usually from August to May, each club plays the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 38 games, though special circumstances may allow a club to host matches at other venues such as when Lille hosted Lyon at the Stade de France in 2007 and 2008. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The three lowest placed teams are relegated to Ligue 2 and the top three teams from Ligue 2 are promoted in their place. For the 2015/16 season only 2 teams will be relegated and only 2 teams from Ligue 2 will be promoted.[1]

Previously, the league utilized a different promotion and relegation format. Prior to 1995, the league's format was 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, similar to the Dutch Eredivisie, and the German Bundesliga. The league has also experimented with a "bonus" rule. From 1973 to 1976, a 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. At the start of the 2006–07 season, the league introduced an Attacking Play Table to encourage the scoring of more goals in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. The LFP, with the help of the former manager Michel Hidalgo introduced the idea to reward those teams who score the most goals. The table was similar to the previous idea, but was independent from the official league table and clubs were only rewarded with monetary bonuses.

European qualification

Currently, as determined by the UEFA coefficient, 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 third qualifying round. The fourth-placed team qualifies for the UEFA Europa League. The other two Europa League places are determined through the country's two domestic cup competitions, the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue. If both of the cup winners qualify for Europe through their league position, the fifth and sixth-placed teams in Ligue 1 will qualify for the Europa League. The league can also be awarded a European place based on their UEFA Fair Play ranking. The league operates a Fair Play table to determine the winning club if France turns out to be the winning nation based on their Fair Play ranking.


Main article: List of Ligue 1 clubs

A total of 76 clubs have played in Ligue 1 from its foundation in the 1932–33 season to the start of the 2011–12 season.[2] Currently, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, and Rennes are the only founding members of the league to be playing in Ligue 1. Paris Saint-Germain and Gazélec Ajaccio are the only clubs to have not suffered points relegation. Paris Saint-Germain earned promotion to the first division for the 1974–75 season and has not faltered down since, while Gazélec made its debut in the league for the 2015–16 season. Paris Saint-Germain was administratively relegated by the league following its split from Paris FC in 1972, but returned to the top flight two seasons later.

Members for 2016–17

The following 20 clubs compete in the 2016–17 Ligue 1 season.

As of end of 2016–2017 Ligue 1 season
in 2015–16
First season in
top division
Seasons in
Ligue 1
First season of
current spell in
top division
Ligue 1
Ligue 1 title
DijonL2: 2nd2011–201212016–170
MetzaL2: 3rd1932–1933582016–170
NancyL2: 1st1970–1971292016–170
Saint-Étienne 6th1938–39632004–05101980–81

a: Founding member of Ligue 1


Ligue 1 clubs' finances and budgets are managed by the DNCG, an organisation responsible for monitoring the accounts of professional association football clubs in France.[3] It was founded in 1984 and is an administrative directorate of the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP). The mission of the DNCG is to oversee all financial operations of the 44 member clubs of the LFP, develop the resources of professional clubs, apply sanctions to those clubs breaking the rules of operation, defend the morals and interests of French football in general.[3]

Following a report by the DNCG, it was determined that the combined budget of Ligue 1 clubs was €910 million for the 2005–06 season, a 39% increase from the 2002–03 season. The prominent reason for the rise was mainly associated with the television rights deal the league regularly signs. Excluding Paris Saint-Germain, many of the top division clubs are extremely healthy with clubs such as Auxerre, Bordeaux, Lille, and Lyon being referred to as "managed to perfection".[4] However, recently the DNCG has encouraged clubs to concentrate on limiting their "skyrocketing wage bills and the magnitude of their debts" after it was discovered that the LFP clubs accounts as a whole were in the red for the third consecutive season (2008–2011) with an estimated deficit of €130 million.[5][6] In 2012, the LFP announced that the clubs deficit had been cut in half from €130 million to €65 million.[7] Ligue 1 ranks fifth in terms of revenue brought in by clubs with the league bringing in £0.6 billion for the 2006–07 season trailing England, Italy, Spain, and Germany.[8]

In terms of world football, clubs Lyon and Marseille are among the richest football clubs in the world and regularly feature in the Deloitte Football Money League ranking of football clubs by revenue generated from football operations. In the list compiled in the 2008–09 season Lyon ranked 13th among clubs generating approximately €139.6 million, while Marseille were right behind them in 14th position generating €133.2 million.[9]

Performance by club

This list contains the champions and runners-up from the professional era (1932–present). The champions from the 1893–1929 period are not included. For the complete list read the main article. Bold indicates clubs currently playing in 2016–17 Ligue 1.

Club Winners Runners-up Winning Years
1956–57, 1963–64, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1980–81
1936–37, 1947–48, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 2009–10
1964–65, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1979–80, 1982–83, 1994–95, 2000–01
1960–61, 1962–63, 1977–78, 1981–82, 1987–88, 1996–97, 1999–00
2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08
1949–50, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1998–99, 2008–09
Paris Saint-Germain
1985–86, 1993–94, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
1948–49, 1952–53, 1954–55, 1957–58, 1959–60, 1961–62
1950–51, 1951–52, 1955–56, 1958–59
1945–46, 1953–54, 2010–11
1934–35, 1937–38
1933–34, 1938–39
RCF Paris
Olympique Lillois



Main article: Ligue 1 records

Most Appearances

Player Period Club[10] Games[11]
1 Mickaël Landreau 1997–2014 Nantes, Paris Saint-Germain, Lille, Bastia 618
2 Jean-Luc Ettori 1975–1994 Monaco 602
3 Dominique Dropsy 1971–1989 Valenciennes, Strasbourg, Bordeaux 596
4 Dominique Baratelli 1967–1985 Ajaccio, Nice, Paris Saint-Germain 593
5 Alain Giresse 1970–1988 Bordeaux, Marseille 586
6 Sylvain Kastendeuch 1982–2001 Metz, Saint-Étienne, Toulouse 577
7 Patrick Battiston 1973–1991 Bordeaux, Metz, Saint-Étienne, Monaco 558
8 Jacky Novi 1964–1980 Marseille, Nîmes, Paris Saint-Germain, Strasbourg 545
9 Roger Marche 1944–1962 Stade Reims, Paris 542
10 Jean-Paul Bertrand-Demanes 1969–1988 Nantes 532


Player Period Club[12] Goals[13] Games
1 Delio Onnis 1971–1986 Monaco, Reims, Tours, Toulon 299 (Ø 0,66) 449
2 Bernard Lacombe 1969–1987 Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Bordeaux 255 (Ø 0,51) 497
3 Hervé Revelli 1965–1978 Saint-Étienne, Nice 216 (Ø 0,55) 389
4 Roger Courtois 1932–1956 Sochaux, Troyes 210 (Ø 0,72) 288
5 Thadée Cisowski 1947–1961 Metz, Paris, Valenciennes 206 (Ø 0,72) 286
6 Roger Piantoni 1950–1966 Nancy, Stade Reims, Nice 203 (Ø 0,52) 394
7 Joseph Ujlaki 1947–1964 Stade Français, Sète, Nîmes, Nice, Paris 189 (Ø 0,43) 438
8 Fleury Di Nallo 1960–1975 Lyon, Red Star Paris 187 (Ø 0,44) 425
9 Carlos Bianchi 1973–1980 Reims, Paris Saint-Germain, Strasbourg 179 (Ø 0,81) 220
10 Gunnar Andersson 1950–1960 Marseille, Bordeaux 179 (Ø 0,77) 234

Media coverage


In France, the Ligue de Football Professionnel has an exclusive broadcasting agreement with premium pay TV channels, Canal+ and beIN Sport. The latter channel is operated by Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera. The agreement with Al Jazeera, reached on 23 June 2011, pays the LFP €510 million over four seasons.[14] Following the announcement of the agreement, it was revealed that Canal+ had acquired four television packages, while beIN Sport acquired two packages.[15]


In other European countries, the availability of Ligue 1 varies. In most countries, the league airs on either TV Arena Sport, Nova Sport, Canal+, or Sport1. In Spain, BeIN Sports (Spain) has the TV-rights from Ligue 1 and Coupe de la Ligue. In countries such as Switzerland and Poland, Ligue 1 airs on sister channels of Canal+. In Germany, league airs on Eurosport, while in the Baltic States, it airs on Viasat Sport. Ligue 1 is shown on Galaxie Sport in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. On 1 April 2010, the Ligue de Football Professionnel announced that the league had reached a multimillioneuro broadcasting agreement with Italian channel Sportitalia. The channel will broadcast Ligue 1 games for the next two seasons beginning with the 2010–11 season. Sportitalia will show four live matches a week and will also air a weekly highlights show.[16] In the United Kingdom, both live matches and Ligue 1 highlights are shown on BT Sport.

Other countries

In countries on the continent of Africa, Ligue 1 matches air on sister channels of Canal+, as well as StarTimes Sports Channels, TV5 Monde, RTNC, and MuviTV. In the Americas, Ligue 1 airs on beIN Sports in English and Univision Deportes Network in Spanish and TV5 Monde in the United States. In Brazil, pay television channel Sportv airs matches from the league, while in Mexico and the Caribbean, the league airs on Televisa Deportes Network, as well as TV5Monde with five matches being televised a week, three games live and two on delay.[17] In Asia, matches air on Guangdong TV in China. Ligue 1 is shown on J Sports in Japan. On 8 April 2010, a deal was reached a week later with Hong Kong telecommunications company PCCW who will broadcasts Ligue 1 matches in the region for the next two seasons.[18] On 12 August 2012, a deal was reached a weekly later with the Indonesia transmissions will by B Channel, in every matches would be completed.



The current Ligue 1 trophy, L'Hexagoal, was developed by the Ligue de Football Professionnel and designed and created by Franco-Argentine artist Pablo Reinoso. The trophy has been awarded to the champion of France since the end of the 2006–07 season, replacing the previous Ligue 1 trophy that had existed for only five years. The name Hexagoal was derived from an official competition created by the LFP and French TV channel TF1 to determine a name for the new trophy. Over 9,000 proposals were sent in and, on 20 May 2007, French Football Federation member Frédéric Thiriez announced that, following an online vote, the term Hexagoal had received half of the votes. The first club to hoist the new trophy was Olympique Lyonnais who earned the honour after winning the 2007–08 season.

Monthly and annual

In addition to the winner's Trophy and the individual winner's medal players receive, Ligue 1 also awards the monthly Player of the Month award. Following the season, the UNFP Awards are held and awards such as the Player of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Young Player of the Year from both Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 are handed out.

See also


  2. "Bilan des clubs". Ligue de Football Professionnel (in French). Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  3. 1 2 "Rules of the DNCG" (PDF) (in French). LFP. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  4. Lawrence, Amy (21 March 2010). "Bordeaux and Lyon bring new wave of French optimism". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  5. "Le foot français dans le rouge". France Football. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  6. "Ligue 1 Focus – Money, money, money…". A Different League. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  7. "65 millions d'euros de déficit en 2010-11 pour les clubs pros". Ouest-France (in French). 6 April 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  8. "PREMIER LEAGUE TOWERS OVER WORLD FOOTBALL, SAYS DELOITTE". Sport Business. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  9. "Real Madrid becomes the first sports team in the world to generate €400m in revenues as it tops Deloitte Football Money League". Sport Business Group. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  10. where player played the most games.
  11. France - All-Time Most Goals in Ligue 1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Position : Forward 75 Goals 2012- Matches Played in Division/League 1
  12. where player scored the most goals
  13. France - All-Time Topscorers
  14. "Al Jazeera make move into Ligue 1". ESPN. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  15. "La LFP choisit Al Jazeera, comme prévu" (in French). Eurosport. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  16. La Ligue 1 signe un accord de diffusion en clair en Italie
  17. 2009/2010 – Ligue 1 Broadcasters – Europe
  18. PCCW secures broadcast rights for Ligue 1
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